In an open letter published by The The LA Times, Union, who was a victim of rape before she was an actress, says she’s been in a “state of stomach-churning confusion” since learning of the story.
“Twenty-four years ago I was raped at gunpoint in the cold, dark backroom of the Payless shoe store where I was then working,” she reveals. “Two years ago I signed on to a brilliant script called ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ to play a woman who was raped. One month ago I was sent a story about Nate Parker, the very talented writer, director and star of this film. Seventeen years ago Nate Parker was accused and acquitted of sexual assault. Four years ago the woman who accused him committed suicide.”
Union goes on to discuss the lasting effects of rape while raising the serious issue of post traumatic stress on sexual assault victims.
“I took this role because I related to the experience,” she continues. “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 later directly addresses her feelings toward Parker’s allegations.
“As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly,” she says.
Read the letter in its entirety here.
SOURCE: LA Weekly | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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