Gabrielle Union Pens Essay About Nate Parker’s Rape Controversy

Gabrielle Union Nate Parker
Gabrielle Union is not only one of the stars of Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation, she’s also a victim of sexual violence. As both, the star has made it her point to make her stance on the controversy surrounding Nate’s sexual assault acquittal known.

Union penned a thoughtful and emotional essay for the discussing her own rape, as well as weighing in on the controversy surrounding Parker’s past that has been brought back in the wake of the attention surrounding the film. In the LA Times essay, she reflects on how learning of Nate’s past affected her, the importance of receiving “affirmative consent” before engaging in any sexual activity and her hopes that continuing education and conversation about sexual crimes will eventually lead to the ending of them altogether.

“Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion,” she wrote. “I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated. Women without a voice, without power. Women in general. But black women in particular.”

She went on to say that while The Birth of a Nation is “important and ground-breaking”, she still can’t simply overlook what she’s learned. “As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly. On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent? It’s very possible he thought he did. Yet by his own admission he did not have verbal affirmation; and even if she never said “no,” silence certainly does not equal “yes.” Although it’s often difficult to read and understand body language, the fact that some individuals interpret the absence of a “no” as a “yes” is problematic at least, criminal at worst. That’s why education on this issue is so vital.”

Read Gabrielle’s entire article over at The LA Times.

Photo Credit: Aaron J. Thornton / PR Photos