It’s been more than 20 years since Gabrielle Union was raped at gunpoint at age 19, but she seems to still recall the aftermath of the terrible ordeal quite vividly. The actress appeared on The View Monday, and opened up about being assaulted during her part time job at a shoe store (her attacker was eventually sentenced to 33 years in prison).
Mostly, the 41-year-old discussed how, and why, she overcame the assault. “I got sick of people letting me off the hook,” she admitted. “Being a victim is so comfortable. People give you attention, people are nurturing. They’re basically what you’ve always wanted them to be without something bad happening.”
Gabrielle, who recently got engaged to Dwayne Wade, added that she didn’t want to continue to be labeled as a victim, because it wouldn’t allow her to succeed on her own. “When something catastrophic happens in your life, everyone rallies around you, and you’re getting all of the attention and love and support that you’ve always wanted…but it’s not for something positive,” she explained. “And I hated that. I hated feeling like a victim. I hated the cloak of victimhood.”
Eventually, she said she was able to become a ‘survivor’ rather than a victim. “I wanted that cloak of victimhood off,” she concluded. “I was like, ‘I want to embrace being a survivor.’ Because that’s who I am. I wasn’t raised to be coddled, I was raised to be an independent woman, standing on my own two feet. And that’s the route I opted to take.”