Dunham was recognized for her work with Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), an organization based in New York that helps young woman who have been victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. And when the Girls actress took to the stage, she revealed how her alleged rape — which she previously touched on in her memoir Not That Kind of Girl — left her "powerless."
"When I was raped, I felt powerless. I felt my value had been determined by someone else," she said. "Someone who sent me the message that my body was not my own and my choices were meaningless. It took years to recognize my worth was not tied to my assault. The voices telling me I deserved this were phantoms — they were liars."
"So as a feminist and sexual assault survivor, my ultimate goal is to use my experience, my platform and yes, my privilege, to reverse stigma and give voice to other survivors."
Dunham went on to explain how women need to stand together and support other sexual assault victims, to ensure that their voices are not silenced.
"Trauma can make us narcissistic and myopic, turning us inward as we struggle with what we have seen, felt and repressed," Dunham explained. "But connecting with other survivors reopens our world. Instead of scrambling for power by silencing other women, we're able to mutually strengthen each other through collaboration and support."
Watch more of Dunham's moving speech below.
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