Many powerful reactions were ignited when details arose about Nate Parker’s rape trial and the actions he took to try and distance himself from it. While many people chose a side on whether or not they’d be seeing his upcoming film, we’d yet to have heard from the many who took part in making it.

Gabrielle Union, who is a survivor of sexual assault and also has a large role in The Birth of a Nation, wrote a powerful op-ed for the Los Angeles Times where she touched on sexual assault, consent and her personal feelings of being attached to a project that came from the mind of a man who went to trial for rape. 

“Twenty-four years ago I was raped at gunpoint in the cold, dark backroom of the Payless shoe store where I was then working,” she said at the opening of the piece. “Two years ago I signed on to a brilliant script called “The Birth of a Nation,” to play a woman who was raped. One month ago I was sent a story about Nate Parker, the very talented writer, director and star of this film. Seventeen years ago Nate Parker was accused and acquitted of sexual assault. Four years ago the woman who accused him committed suicide.”

She went on to explain her own internal struggles after hearing the news of Parker’s trial.

“Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion. I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film.”

By the end of the piece, Union took the opportunity to touch on just how common sexual assault is and how important it is to teach young men and boys the necessity of true consent.

Read the full op-ed here.

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