The surge of sexual assault allegations made against several Hollywood power players has taken over the media over the past few months, with several women coming forward to accuse the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and more.
While their actions are immensely commendable, Gabrielle Union is opening up about the elephant in the room: the racial bias contributing to the praise of white women for speaking up, while marginalized voices never seemed to get the same amount of support.
Recap what the actress said about being sexually assaulted with BET Breaks, above.
In a candid interview with The New York Times, the Being Mary Jane star explained that there is a noticeable bias when it comes to believing women who relate their experiences with sexual assault and harassment.
“I think the floodgates have opened for white women,” she told the publication. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence whose pain has been taken seriously. Whose pain we have showed historically and continued to show. Whose pain is tolerable and whose pain is intolerable, and whose pain needs to be addressed now.”
The actress went on to question if the same widespread legions of support would be seen if the spearheaders of the sexual assault allegations were minority victims. She claims that these particular accusers don’t have the luxury and ease of coming forward with their stories in the same way that white victims do and stresses that it is essential for those who do to extend that platform to those less fortunate.
“If they hadn’t been approachable. If they hadn’t been people who have had access to parts and roles and true inclusion in Hollywood, would we have believed?” she continued. “When we have the microphone, how often do we pass it back to the people who are experiencing a different challenge, but who are equally worthy as having the microphone?”
Union recently opened up about her own experience with sexual assault, expounding on the time she was raped at work. She added that part of the reason she told her story so honestly was because she was considered the “perfect victim,” as her assailant was caught on camera and she reported the crime shortly after it had initially occurred, which isn’t the case in the majority of sexual assaults that occur.