Gabrielle Union recently wrote an amazing op-ed for the Los Angeles Times to discuss her role in the new film “Birth of a Nation,” directed by Nate Parker.
It came out recently that seventeen years ago, Parker was accused and acquitted of sexual assault.
The woman who accused Parker committed four years ago.
In “Birth of a Nation,” Union plays a character who has been raped and keeps silent about it.
In the op-ed, she expresses her thoughts on what people have been saying about Parker, the film, and her participation.
Union admits she was raped twenty-four years ago.
“Different roads circling one brutal, permeating stain on our society. A stain that is finely etched into my own history,”43-year-old actress wrote.
“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.”
She admits she has been confused since finding out the Nate Parker story just a month ago.
“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. Women in general. But black women in particular.”
Union goes on to say she cannot take these allegations “lightly.” But, she does say this is why education on these issues is so important.
“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.”
“..I’ve become aware that we must speak to our children about boundaries between the sexes. And what it means to not be a danger to someone else.”
Union ends with a lesson, allowing this to be one to teach our children in what consent really means.
“To play an active role in creating a ripple that will change the ingrained misogyny that permeates our culture. And to eventually wipe the stain clean.”
The whole article is really moving, and Union speaks the truth. It is such a powerful essay, and so timely.
Read the full thing here.