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Gabrielle Union claps back at sexual assault victim shamers

Text: Kate Friedman; Photography: Getty Images

October 18, 2017

 

Gabrielle UnionGabrielle Union is not one to be afraid to speak out about issues that matter to her. Recently, she shared that she’s had eight or nine miscarriages; in the past, she’s opened up about the rape she experienced as a teenager. And now, she’s defending women of Hollywood, women of colour, and women everywhere from the backlash they’ve wrongfully received from victim shamers.

During a live taping on ESSENCE Yes, Girl!, she addressed the audience, “Let’s go back,” she said. “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,” she said. “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 any time, 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.”

“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,” she added, “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 went on to explain the stark difference between how white pain and black pain is valued in our society and in the media.

“Then there’s the difference in how we treat women of colour who talk about sexual assault or sexual violence or sexual harassment or violence period,” she explained. “There’s not the same rallying cry from feminists across the board. 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.”

Taken from GLAMOUR US. Click here to read the original.

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