Gabrielle Union Discusses “Tremendous” Response To Her Sexual Abuse Essay

Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety/REX.
Despite the controversy surrounding The Birth of a Nation, Gabrielle Union has remained one of Hollywood's most admirable advocates for women who have survived sexual violence. After writing an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that told the story of her own rape, the actress said the response has been "tremendous." In her op-ed, Union wrote about working with Parker to show an honest and sensitive depiction of sexual assault in the movie he wrote, directed, and starred in. In light of Parker's sexual assault acquittal and news that his accuser died by suicide, Union highlighted the importance of sex education and intimacy that is focused on enthusiastic consent. Union's words have been met mostly with support, the actress told The Cut. She described being thanked and congratulated by women in and out of Hollywood, including people to whom she had never spoken before. "I needed people to see that that is real, that there is hope, there is faith. You are not broken and forsaken. There is always a community that will love you and that is how I’ve been perceived by Hollywood." Union isn't newly outspoken about sexual violence. This cause — and moving toward a standard focused on consent — has been a platform of hers since her assault. "I’ve been talking about this for over 20 years," Union told The Cut. "When I was 19, lying on the floor after having been raped on the floor of a Payless shoe store at gunpoint, I decided never again. I decided I was going to use my celebrity, my platform, any time anybody set a microphone in front of my face to talk about the horrors of sexual violence and what it does to your soul and to your psyche and to your sanity and to your family and relationships."

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