Gabrielle Union has written a heart-breaking new essay reflecting on her own rape as well as the sexual assault allegations aimed at Nate Parker.
Gabrielle starts her L.A. Times op-ed bluntly:
Twenty-four years ago I was raped at gunpoint in the cold, dark backroom of the Payless shoe store where I was then working.
She then proceeds to detail how her own rape has since affected her, as well how deeply she’s been affected by the allegations aimed at Nate Parker.
Rape is a wound that throbs long after it heals. And for some of us the throbbing gets too loud. Post traumatic stress syndrome is very real and chips away at the soul and sanity of so many of us who have survived sexual violence.
Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion. I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated. Women without a voice, without power.
She then continues to discuss the importance of consent and why she cannot sleep thinking about Nate Parker’s rape case.
As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly. On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent? It’s very possible he thought he did. Yet by his own admission he did not have verbal affirmation; and even if she never said “no,” silence certainly does not equal “yes.” Although it’s often difficult to read and understand body language, the fact that some individuals interpret the absence of a “no” as a “yes” is problematic at least, criminal at worst.
We’re so impressed with how articulately and boldly Gabrielle is writing about her own rape. The fact that she cannot stand idly by as these allegations circle the web is truly inspiring. We can’t imagine how difficult it must be for her to recount what happened so many years ago and to come forward with such a strong position on Nate Parker while others have stayed strong.
Gabrielle, keep doing what you’re doing. We applaud you.