BRAND NEW ON E!
For anyone who thinks that Rihanna's "Man Down" music video is over-the-top and simply out to grab headlines, Gabrielle Union has a message for you: It's not. In fact, tragically, it's very true to life.
In particular, hers.
After being asked by a fan about her response to the controversial clip, the actress opened up about her own abusive past, and revealed a heartbreaking parallel between the video's story and her own: namely, that she, too, once tried to shoot the man who raped her.
The topic came up last week, when Union was soliciting ideas from her followers on how to better combat violence against women and kids. When a fan asked her what she thought of the Rihanna video, the 38-year-old star responded with unexpected honesty and candor.
"I haven't seen it yet," she tweeted. "I'll let everyone know my thoughts on it when I do."
A few days later, she had.
"Saw 'Man Down' by @rihanna. Every victim/survivor of rape is unique, including how they THINK they'd like justice 2 be handed out," she tweeted.
"During my rape I tried 2 shoot my rapist, bt I missed. Over the yrs I realized tht killin my rapist would've added insult 2 injury. The DESIRE 2 kill someone whose abused/raped u is understandable, bt unless its self defense n the moment 2 save ur life, just ADDS 2 ur troubles #mandown."
While Union has spoken before about her rape at 19 years old—and has in fact admirably become a powerful advocate for the government's support of rape crisis centers—she had not revealed that she tried to shoot her attacker. Her recent disclosure, in addition to resulting in tweets of support for Union, also inevitably yielded more questions for the actress, who calmly laid out the facts of her own traumatizing assault.
"Stranger who robbed the store I worked at," she said, identifying her rapist. "He put his gun dwn durin the rape & asked me 2 [hand] it 2 him."
Union, whose tweets on the topic not only brought awareness, but support, to survivors of similarly horrific circumstances, credited Rihanna's video with not only getting her talking about her ordeal, but many more people, as well.
"#Mandown video did a GREAT job of getting the ENTIRE world TALKING abt RAPE," she tweeted. "I hope tht it leads 2 HEALING & PREVENTS RAPE."
Amen to that.