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Gabrielle Union is finally speaking out about the recently resurfaced Nate Parker rape allegations that, unfortunately, has tainted the positive buzz surrounding Parker’s historical film, The Birth of a Nation. 

Union, who stars in the feature directed and produced by Nate, wrote a op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, recounting her personal experience with rape and how it’s affected her views on Nate’s latest controversy.

The actress recalled being “raped at gunpoint in the cold, dark backroom of the Payless shoe store where I was then working” 24 years ago. Union explained that she had signed on to do the project before knowing about Nate’s accusal and acquittal of sexual assault seventeen years ago.

“Different roads circling one brutal, permeating stain on our society. A stain that is finely etched into my own history. Rape is a wound that throbs long after it heals. And for some of us the throbbing gets too loud,” she wrote. “Post traumatic stress syndrome is very real and chips away at the soul and sanity of so many of us who have survived sexual violence.”

Gabrielle, who in the drama plays an unarmed slave who was raped, explained that she wanted to do the project because she “related to the experience.” She explained, however, that she can’t take Parker’s allegations lightly.

“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,” Union wrote.

The Being Mary Jane actress opened up about raising sons and making sure she and husband, NBA champion Dwyane Wade, make efforts “to teach our sons about affirmative consent. We explain that the onus is on them to explicitly ask if their partner consents. And we tell them that a shrug or a smile or a sigh won’t suffice. They have to hear ‘yes.'”

According to Union, she read the full 700-page transcript from the case and still cannot draw a conclusion. She, however, explained, “I believe that the film is an opportunity to inform and educate so that these situations cease to occur on college campuses, in dorm rooms, in fraternities, in apartments or anywhere else young people get together to socialize.”

The 43-year-old concluded, “It is my hope that we can use this as an opportunity to look within. To open up the conversation. To reach out to organizations which are working hard to prevent these kinds of crimes. And to support its victims. To donate time or money. To play an active role in creating a ripple that will change the ingrained misogyny that permeates our culture. And to eventually wipe the stain clean.”

The Birth of a Nation is slated to release on October 7, 2016.

EXCLUSIVES

Dwyane Wade On New Heartfelt Documentary: It’s A Story “I Never Got A Chance To Tell As A Kid”

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It’s been an epic week for Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union.

It first started with one of the biggest trades of the year with Wade returning back to Miami to finish the rest of the season with the Heat. “I was happy,” Wade told us on Thursday night about the trade.

He added, “The journey of the NBA took me to Chicago, it took me to Cleveland, but it also brought me back to Miami; a place from a basketball sense birthed me.”

Days following the big NBA announcement, the lovebirds then celebrated the release of Dwyane’s documentary, Shot in the Dark, which the NBA champion produced alongside Chance the Rapper.

The film follows the Orr Academy High School basketball team on Chicago’s Westside. Throughout the documentary, cameras capture the journey of individual athletes trying to make it to the NBA despite growing up in the violent streets of Chicago.

During the screening, Wade also opened up to HipHollywood about why the project was near and dear to his heart. “It’s home,” the Chicago native said. “I jumped on board right away because it’s a story being told that I never got a chance to tell as a kid. To be able to shed some positive light on a tough, dark situation for us was big.”

Union added, “I’m so proud. Coming up on Hoop Dreams … It explores so many other topics that are critical to kids in Chicago.”

As for whether or not D-Wade picked up some advice from his TV star boo, not quite. When asked what tips Union gave Wade ahead of the project, the actress told us, “None. You have to learn. Humility and school of hard knocks. Things are not going to go your way and you have to learn through experience just like the rest of us.”

Check out the documentary on February 24 on Fox Sports.

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