Gabrielle Union Opens Up on How She Dealt with Rape Ordeal
Gabrielle Union opened up about how she overcame being raped at gunpoint aged 19 on The View yesterday, saying that she chose not to be a victim. The Being Mary Jane star sat with The View hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd, and talked about this very difficult period in her life. Ms Union had taken a summer job at a Payless shoe store in California, and was just closing up when a man robbed the shop and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint.
Sherri: You were raped at gunpoint and you went through a period of time when you felt like the victim, and rightfully so. And you had an epiphany where you decided you didn’t want to be that anymore. I want to know what happened when you had that epiphany.
Gabrielle: I got sick of people letting me off the hook. Because being a victim is so comfortable. People give you attention, people are nurturing…they’re basically the way you’ve always wanted them to be your whole life without something bad happening. So when something catastrophic happens in your life, everyone rallies around you and you’re getting all the attention and love and support that you always wanted, but it’s not for something positive. And I hated that. I hated feeling like a victim. I hated the cloak of victimhood. And I realized that they were gonna allow me to be a victim and not succeed, and not achieve any of my goals or not step outside of the box. It makes you lazy and I wanted that cloak of victimhood off. And I was like I wanna embrace being a survivor.
It later transpired that her attacker had actually been a former employee of another Payless store which he had robbed, and where he had also raped another employee. The man was charged criminally and finally sentenced to 33 years in prison, and Ms Union won a negligence lawsuit against Payless.
Concluding on the subject, Ms Union warned parents to check out the criminal history of businesses before sending their children off to work there. After she managed to find strength with the help of friends, family and counselors, the Nabraska native returned to the University of California in Los Angeles graduating with a degree in sociology.
Gabrielle also discussed her upcoming nuptials and how she is ‘excited’ about being step mom to her fiancé’s three children.
“I’ve come from a family that went through divorce, My parents were married 30 years before they went through a divorce. I’m sure after 30 years there was bitterness and anger and fear and all sorts of things but I don’t know because they never made it our issue.”
Union divorced American football player Chris Howard in 2006 after five years. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade married his childhood sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches, in 2002 and they split in 2007, but their divorce wasn’t finalised until 2010. He was awarded sole custody of their two sons Zaire, 11, and Zion, six, in 2011. He also has a son, Xavier, three months, from a previous relationship with longtime friend Aja Metoyer. The sportsman proposed to Ms Union on December 21 at the construction site for the couple’s new Miami home. They have not revealed their wedding date and Ms Union insisted that the affair will be ‘much smaller than people are envisioning.’