Lena Dunham's Mom Had Perfect Response to So-Called 'Sexual Predator' Daughter​

Lena DunhamWhen actress and director Lena Dunham was accused this weekend of outing herself as a sexual predator in her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, her response was one many a mother has thought over the years. Dunham says she was not molesting her younger sister when she took a peek inside 1-year-old Grace's vagina. She was just a "weird 7-year-old." Is it any wonder her mother, Laurie Simmons, didn't fluster when one of her daughters told her the other had something in her private parts?

Yet that's what seems to have gotten the folks at Truth Revolt, a conservative website claiming Dunham abused her sister, truly upset about the Girls' star's book. Take a look:


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One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked.

My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!”

My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.

According to Truth Revolt, which shared this excerpt under a heading that claims "Lena Dunham Describes Sexually Abusing Her Little Sister," this is the "most disturbing" passage in Dunham's book.

Way to (try to) throw every mother in America into fear mode, TruthRevolt!

But what's truly telling about this excerpt isn't what Lena did but how Simmons reacted. She didn't fly off the handle at her daughter for being a child. She investigated and dealt with the actual situation at hand: her older child curiously investigated her sister's body; her younger child stuffing something into her body as kids are wont to do (in ears, in noses, in vaginas ...)

According to the folks at the Safer Society Foundation, a non-profit that's dedicated to ending sexual violence, the following are all NORMAL behaviors for kids ages 6 to 12: 

Questions about relationships and sexual behavior, menstruation and pregnancy. Experimentation with same-age children, often during games, kissing, touching, exhibitionism and role-playing. Private self stimulation. u ncommon: Adult-like sexual interactions, discussing specific sexual acts or public self stimulation.

Sound familiar?

What Lena has described is within the realm of normal child development, and her mom's reaction was spot on.

Mothers know our kids. We know when something is "off," and when something is just a child being a child.

And how we respond makes all the difference. We don't want to scare our kids off of being curious or make them uncomfortable with the human body. We need to teach them boundaries, certainly, but we can do that without treating normal child-like behavior as a sign of deviancy.

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The fact is, yes, children can sexually abuse other children. But it's exceedingly rare.

What's not rare is for children to be curious about the way the world -- including the human body -- works. Often that means investigating on siblings, cousins, or little friends. As parents, it's up to us to then step in and have a talk about privacy and private parts, to tell kids that they need to respect their siblings (cousins, little friends, etc.). If something does feel off, then we certainly should take our kids to a specialist for help, but at the end of the day, we have to remember that our kids are usually just being ... kids.

Has your kid ever pulled a "weird 7-year-old" stunt like Dunham's? How did you respond?


Image via Allan Bregg / Splash News


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