Gabrielle Union’s Rape Story Validates Rihanna's Video

Linda Sharps

I've expressed my support for Rihanna's "Man Down" video (even though I can't stand the actual song—I find reggae exactly as appealing as unflavored tofu, which is to say not at all), but I think Gabrielle Union has contributed a particularly powerful message on why the video shouldn't be banned.

A message that was essentially delivered via LOLspeak, but in this case, we will forgive her for her eye-gouging Twitter grammar.

Union has not only been been public about surviving a terrifying rape when she was 19 years old, she's become a strong advocate for the government's support of rape crisis centers.

When asked by a fan via Twitter what she thought of the revenge shooting in "Man Down," Union chose to open up even further about her ordeal:

When she was 19, Union was working at a shoe store when an armed man came in at closing time. After ordering the employees into a storage room, he proceeded to rob the store and rape Union. At some point during the assault, he put down the gun, and Union unsuccessfully attempted to shoot him.

She wrote about understanding the violence depicted in "Man Down," saying:

The DESIRE 2 kill someone whose abused/raped u is understandable, bt unless its self defense n the moment 2 save ur life, just ADDS 2 ur troubles.

I am thankful that I can't say I understand from personal experience what she's talking about, but I agree that Rihanna's video shows the reality of how sexual trauma can unravel someone's life. It doesn't glamorize the idea of shooting a rapist, it shows a terrible situation that spirals into something even worse.

Union added a comment that I think all those groups who are calling for the video to be pulled off the air should consider:

Every victim/survivor of rape is unique, including how they THINK they'd like justice 2 be handed out.

The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am by critics who sit back and say nothing to the 80 trillion music videos glorifying the gangsta lifestyle and the sexual objectification of women, but are raising hell over something that shows a woman who damns herself by fighting back. Guess Rihanna should just go back to shaking her ass while the boys play with guns, right?


Image via YouTube

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