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Gabrielle Union opens up about being raped as teenager

BRAVE: Gabrielle Union (PA)

ACTRESS GABRIELLE Union went on to the American TV show The View to talk about the traumatic experience of being raped when she was 19 years old.

The 41-year-old spoke candidly on Monday (Feb 24) about the horrific ordeal, which happened when she had a summer retail job at Payless Shoes and was assaulted one night by a robber at gunpoint.

The person who raped her was an employee from another Payless store. Her attacker also robbed the store and raped another person, she said.

The suspect was later charged and sentenced to 33 years in prison.

Despite what she went through, Union said she never wanted to be labelled as a “victim".

"When something catastrophic happens in your life, everyone rallies around you," she said.

"You're getting all of the attention and support and love that you've always wanted. But it's not for something positive and I hated that.

"I hated feeling like the victim. I hated the cloak of victimhood," she explained. "I got sick of people letting me off the hook. Being a victim is so comfortable. It makes you lazy."

Union who stars in BET’s first original scripted drama series Being Mary Jane, talked about how she needed to "embrace being a survivor."

She explained it was only after filing and winning a negligence lawsuit against Payless Shoes that she took back the "power".

"I wasn't raised to be coddled, I was raised to be an independent woman, standing on my own two feet, and that's the road I opted to take."

Union is engaged to NBA player Dwyane Wade after he proposed in December.

Meanwhile, Being Mary Jane aired its last episode for the season on Tuesday (Feb 25), and according to Los Angeles Times, the TV show is up for another season after the network decided to renew it because of high ratings.

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