‘The Birth of a Nation’ Actress Gabrielle Union Pens Essay About Sexual Assault and Nate Parker Rape Allegations.

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Gabrielle Union The Birth of a Nation

As the controversy over The Birth of a Nation star Nate Parker’s past rape allegations continues, many eyes were were turned towards Gabrielle Union. Fans wondered if Union, who has spoken out about her own experience with sexual assault, would comment on Parker and the fate of the film that he also wrote and directed.

In an essay for the L.A. Times, published online earlier today, Union broke her apparent silence writing,

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.

As a black woman raising brilliant, handsome, talented young black men, I am cognizant of my responsibility to them and their future. My husband and I stress the importance of their having to walk an even straighter line than their white counterparts. A lesson that is heartbreaking and infuriating, but mandatory in the world we live in. We have spent countless hours focused on manners, education, the perils of drugs. We teach them about stranger-danger and making good choices. But recently I’ve become aware that we must speak to our children about boundaries between the sexes. And what it means to not be a danger to someone else.

Read the full essay at the L.A. Times.

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