Gabrielle Union speaks out as victim of sexual assault, slams victim-blaming

She has spoken out several times about being raped at gunpoint when she was 19.

October 16, 2017, 5:51 PM

— -- In the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations aimed at Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Gabrielle Union is coming to the defense of women who have been sexually assaulted and harassed.

Over the past few years, Union has spoken out several times about being raped at gunpoint when she was 19 years old.

On Sunday, she tweeted that women should not be blamed for staying silent, or for their decision to dress a certain way.

"Sexual violence & harassment can happen to anyone at anytime anywhere," she wrote in a series of tweets. "Ppl remain silent 4 many different very personal reasons. Judgment, victim shaming/blaming, loss of job/$, fear of violence, retaliation.”

Union continued: "In Hollywood meetings in homes, hotel lobbies/restaurants/suites, private isolated office space is the norm. NO ONE 'ASKED FOR IT!!' Sexual or physical violence, harassment, demeaning language is NOT the price one should pay for seeking or maintaining employment. Period."

Union then discredited the notion that a woman's attire makes her a target for sexual predators.

"Reminder. I got raped at work at a Payless shoe store," she tweeted. "I had on a long tunic & leggings so miss me w/ 'dress modestly' s--t. Though I was raped by a stranger who raped me at gunpoint after robbing the store, I was still asked by a female 'friend' what I had worn."

Last year, in an emotional essay for the Los Angeles Times Union opened up about her assault and responded to the rape allegation made against her "Birth of a Nation" director Nate Parker that had resurfaced during the film's promotion. Parker had been accused of raping a college classmate in 1999 and was later acquitted. His accuser died by suicide in 2012.

"I took this part in this film to talk about sexual violence. To talk about this stain that lives on in our psyches," Union wrote. "I know these conversations are uncomfortable and difficult and painful. But they are necessary. Addressing misogyny, toxic masculinity, and rape culture is necessary. Addressing what should and should not be deemed consent is necessary."