ICYMI: Gabrielle Union Laments Empathy Gap Between Black and White Survivors

By Sameer Rao Dec 07, 2017

Actress and producer Gabrielle Union spares no details about her most horrifying experiences, including when she survived a rape at age 19, in her new memoir, “We’re Going to Need More Wine.” The book hit shelves as #MeToo trended in connection to reports of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged serial sexual assault of employees and A-list actresses. Union addresses the recent disclosures in an interview published by The New York Times on Tuesday (December 5). In it, she argues that the current public attention to endemic sexual violence disproportionately benefits White survivors.

“I think the floodgates have opened for White women,” Union says. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence whose pain has been taken seriously. Whose pain we have showed historically and continued to show. Whose pain is tolerable and whose pain is intolerable. And whose pain needs to be addressed now.”

“If those people hadn’t been Hollywood royalty,” she continues, referencing some of the more prominent accusers. “If they hadn’t been approachable. If they hadn’t been people who have had access to parts and roles and true inclusion in Hollywood, would we have believed?”

Union recently concluded a month-long speaking tour for her memoir. She told The Times that readers at every stop disclosed their own stories of sexual violence to her. She admits that these interactions, while necessary, required her to process afterward. She said she spent most nights on the tour “crying like I’m at a funeral.”