This Bring It On star is making a stance on women’s violence. Gabrielle Union has always been open about her past rape at 19 years old, especially as she opened about it in her 2017 memoir. Now, she continues to share her story to help spotlight police inequality. Even with her busy schedule, Union is committed to being involved in feminist activism and be an advocate for survivors of abuse.
Who is Gabrielle Union?
Union was born in Nebraska, but the family later moved to California, where Union spent most of her pre-teen and teenage years. Her acting career began in the 90s with appearances on several sitcoms and roles in teen movies of that time, including 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That.
It was in 2000 when her big break came with her role in Love and Basketball, followed by being cast as Iris in the hit cheerleading movie Bring It On. Her impressive performance in Bring It On was the boost needed for others to take note.
After the successful film, she was cast on the CBS drama City of Angels and had many other notable roles throughout the 2000s. Union has also been a host on the popular TV talent show America’s Got Talent.
Besides her acting, Union has written a personal memoir titled We’re Going to Need More Wine in 2017 and a children’s book in 2020 titled Welcome to the Party. She also is an entrepreneur with her line of beauty products.
Gabrielle Union’s activism
While being a star on the big screen is a well-deserved accomplishment, Union has also been seen in news headlines for her involvement with feminist and anti-racist activism. She was raised to be a strong and independent woman with her mother instilling worldly perspectives into Union.
This contributed to Union’s vocal stance on issues she believes strongly about and her dedication to making a difference. We saw this when she spoke out about feeling like she was in a toxic work environment while being a judge on America’s Got Talent.
After she was fired from the show, production companies who investigated her claims have claimed that no one was insensitive to Union during her time on the show.
Spotlighting Police Inequality
Union reflecting on her past rape, she shares the PTSD she faces and the therapy that helps her deal with the awful situation. It has been over two decades since her rape at gunpoint in the back of the Payless store where she worked, but the pain she lives with will never completely disappear.
She told Women’s Health that her PTSD levels have been “on 10, [with] the combination of a pandemic and this racial reckoning, alongside being inundated with [images of] the brutalization of Black bodies, has sent my PTSD into overdrive. There’s just terror in my body.”
The assault prompted her to become an advocate for rape survivors, especially given her notably positive experience with the police in the aftermath. In her book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, she writes: “I am grateful I was raped in an affluent neighborhood with an underworked police department. And an underutilized rape crisis center. The fact that one can be grateful for such things is goddamn ridiculous…I know this now because I have spent time lobbying Congress and state legislatures about the treatment of rape victims. I’ve seen the worst-case scenarios, and they are devastating. Now, I can appreciate the care with which I was handled. Now, I know it rarely happens that way. And it really rarely happens that way for Black women.”