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Gabrielle Union has made no secret of the fact that she was raped as a teenager. In fact, she’s talked about it consistently for twenty years. But with the headlines filled with Hollywood heavyweights who have preyed on women because of the direct influence they can have on their careers, the actress broke down why sexual assault is so prevelant in the industry.
“Let’s go back,” she told the audience while on a live taping of ESSENCE Yes, Girl! podcast. “When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, you’re reading over and over all of the judgment about the women who … ‘Well, why would you go to the hotel room? You had to have known what that meant.’ I felt the need to offer some context of how our industry works.”
“In Hollywood, meetings in hotel lobbies, restaurants, suites are totally normal. Meetings at people’s homes, by yourself, totally common. Meetings at isolated office space, in random parts of town, totally common. And you can get raped anywhere at anytime, any type of person male or female, shape, size, religion, haircut, it doesn’t matter what you have on, what you look like, where you go.”
Adding, “But, this idea that these women should have somehow known, and they could have saved themselves; had they just been the ‘right’ type of woman, who makes the ‘right’ type of decisions. I had to call bullshit, and remind people … I had to chime in, it’s like, modest dressing didn’t save me. Modest dressing didn’t save a lot of people, most people, because rape isn’t about sexual arousal. It’s about power and violence.”
She also made it clear that there is a distinguishable difference in the way Black pain is covered in the media.
“Then there’s the difference in how we treat women of color who talk about sexual assault or sexual violence or sexual harassment or violence period. There’s not the same rallying cry from feminists across the board.”
Noting, “You can easily see whose pain is valued and whose is discarded. You can easily see it. Because they weren’t the ‘right’ type of victim. If, again, when I saw that video of Courtney Love in 2005 saying, ‘What’s the best advice for young actresses? Well, if Harvey Weinstein invites you to the Four Seasons for a party, don’t go.’ But, we decided who we thought Courtney Love was, so, her words have no more value for us.”
Gabrielle Union’s debut book We’re Going to Need More Wine is available now.
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