Content material warning: The next put up incorporates dialogue of rape and sexual violence.
Gabrielle Union joined the forged of Apple TV+ drama “Reality Be Instructed” for season three within the function of Eva — a principal who’s attempting to resolve a suspected sex-trafficking ring whereas drawing extra consideration to the Black and Brown women going lacking within the Bay Space. In an interview with CBS Mornings on Wednesday, Jan. 25, Union spoke about her personal previous expertise with rape, the sudden difficulties she encountered whereas filming “Reality Be Instructed,” and the way the expertise gave her a deeper empathy for younger victims of intercourse trafficking.
“The present is about sexual violence of younger individuals within the Bay Space. At 19, I skilled sexual violence — I used to be raped at gunpoint at my job,” Union stated throughout the interview. She understood that she’d dissociated throughout the assault, “however I believed I got here again into myself by the point the police arrived,” she stated.
However whereas filming “Reality Be Instructed,” Union realized that wasn’t true — her thoughts had continued to guard her over the subsequent 30 years. And whereas engaged on a venture so closely centered on intercourse trafficking, she started to recollect extra particulars about her rape. “It was like my mind was pulling again the curtain on the whole lot: smells . . . what his pores and skin felt like — all of it was lastly revealed to me. For 30 years, I believed I knew, and what I spotted was that I would not have survived at 19, understanding the enormity of the trauma,” Union stated.
“And after I give it some thought, I used to be raped one time. One time, and 30 years later, I nonetheless battle. Victims of sexual violence expertise this over and again and again, indefinitely,” she added.
Union described crying after work every day due to her previous trauma. She stated she felt a accountability to make use of her expertise “for the larger good,” however in doing so, “I wasn’t precisely prioritizing myself.” When capturing for the season lastly wrapped, her buddies organized for her to take part in a “rebirth” ceremony on the seashore to assist her launch the previous trauma.
In the end, Union stated the expertise of capturing and reliving her rape helped her acknowledge “the enormity of the trauma” skilled by victims of intercourse trafficking — and bolstered the significance of drawing consideration to their tales, particularly these of Black and Brown younger people, to allow them to be given the assets they desperately want.
“Seventy-one thousand Black women below 17 went lacking in 2021, and so they have been recognized as runaways — 9 out of 10 have been recognized as runaways. When you’re recognized as a runaway, [there’s] no Amber Alert, no regulation enforcement consideration. Nothing,” Union stated. She provides that Black and Brown younger people, particularly, “get adultified. We’re demonized, and we’re blamed for our personal abuse, which implies you are not going to take it as critically. Our innocence isn’t assured. It is all the time up for debate.”
Union added that, whereas the Gabby Petito case in August 2021 garnered widespread media consideration, the 71,000 Black women who went lacking in 2021 weren’t getting reported on, which is one more reason she sees work like “Reality Be Instructed” as so necessary.
She stated the response to the present “has been huge” and that folks and organizations concerned in sex-trafficking work have thanked the present for elevating consideration to the problem.
For extra details about human trafficking and easy methods to assist, go to organizations, together with Polaris Venture, Love 146, and the Nationwide Middle For Lacking & Exploited Youngsters.
When you or a liked one are experiencing sexual assault, know that assist is obtainable. To talk with somebody educated to help survivors of sexual violence, name the Nationwide Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673.