Gabrielle Union Claps Back in Defense of Sexual Assault Victims and Their Clothes

Actress talks about what she was wearing when she was raped after Mayim Bialik catches flack for New York Times op-ed

By Samantha Schnurr Oct 16, 2017 12:44 PMTags
Gabrielle UnionPG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Gabrielle Union has a message about the link between sexual assault victims and their clothes: there isn't one. 

The star, who has previously spoken out about the rape she suffered at gunpoint as a teenager, took to Twitter Sunday to use her experience as a teaching lesson. "Reminder. I got raped at work at a Payless shoe store. I had on a long tunic & leggings so miss me w/ 'dress modestly' shit," the actress candidly wrote. "Though I was raped by a stranger who raped me at gunpoint after robbing the store, I was still asked by a female 'friend' what I had worn."

The Being Mary Jane star's comments follow a New York Times op-ed penned by Mayim Bialik, who caught some flack over the weekend for writing in part that she dresses modestly as a "self-protecting" choice. 

"I am entirely aware that these types of choices might feel oppressive to many young feminists," she continued in the piece, titled "Mayim Bialik: Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World." "They should be able to flirt however they want with whomever they want. Why are we the ones who have to police our behavior?"

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The Big Bang Theory star later clarified her stance, claiming her words had been taken out of context.  "I'm being told my N.Y. Times piece resonated with so many and I am beyond grateful for all of the feedback. I also see a bunch of people have taken my words out of the context of the Hollywood machine and twisted them to imply that God forbid I would blame a woman for her assault based on her clothing or behavior," Bialik wrote on Twitter and Facebook late on Saturday.

"Anyone who knows me and my feminism knows that's absurd and not at all what this piece was about. It's so sad how vicious people are being when I basically live to make things better for women."

Meanwhile, in light of mounting sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein (the producer has denied allegations of non-consensual sex), Union wanted to drive home the message that women who are assaulted are not "asking for it" no matter where they are or what they're wearing. 

"Sexual violence & harassment can happen to anyone at anytime anywhere," she tweeted. "Ppl remain silent 4 many different very personal reasons. Judgment, victim shaming/blaming, loss of job/$, fear of violence, retaliation."

As the actress continued, "Folks are also very open and obvious about what kind of victim should be prioritized & believed. To think otherwise is to be willfully dim...In Hollywood meetings in homes, hotel lobbies/restaurants/suites, private isolated office space is the norm. NO ONE 'ASKED FOR IT!!'"