Delta Gamma sorority supports the Lectureship in Values & Ethics program on 19 campuses. Every few years, the Gamma Zeta chapter at LSU host a series of presentations with different speakers as a part of this program. Actress and advocate Gabrielle Union was the fourth lecturer for this series. Chad Sabadie, University alumnus and anchor for WVLA Local 33 News in Baton Rouge moderated the presentation.
Gabrielle Union, star of BET's "Being Mary Jane," spoke candidly with the Baton Rouge community Tuesday night about her history with sexual abuse.
Union has been fulfilling her responsibility as an activist by bringing awareness to this topic. Her vulnerability was definitely appreciated.
She informed us that she was raped during a robbery while at work at age 19.
Gabrielle described the situation so vividly that I couldn't help but to close my eyes and imagine myself in her situation.
She then explained that her attacker was armed with a gun and the moment he set it down she reached for it. Trying to shoot him, she shot at the ground. Then, they began to fight for the gun. In due time, he decided to flee the scene.
Putting myself in her shoes, I found it brave that she could overcome an incident as horrifying as that.
I just had to ask her how was she able to trust in people again. And I definitely wanted to know how she was able to become vulnerable with men since she's in this beautiful marriage now.
"It was a process. I see myself in so many of you guys and you're sprinting into womanhood. The shell isn't fully formed and you're racing to be claimed, validated, and get a title to hang on ourselves to show that we're valuable
But, because that shell isn't fully hardened, we're racing for things we're not ready for. After the rape I had feelings of worthlessness, which I already had from early childhood.
I felt 'Of course I was raped. He saw the worthlessness in me.'
When something good happened I was like "Oh, just wait until they find out" and when something bad happened I would be like 'Of course because I'm not worth anything. I have no value.' And by taking that baggage, that many of us have, into a marriage or into a relationship, into a job or even some friendships,
there is something that is constantly evolving in us.
I'm going at my own rate, and I'm allowing other people I'm romantically linked with the freedom to evolve."
During the press conference, I was able to see a different side of Gabrielle. I learned that she use to seek comfort the local rape crisis center after work during her time at UCLA. Out of all things, that's something that really resonated with me. It verified that all a person needs is some to talk to, someone listen, someone to care. I'm not a rape survivor but I believe compassion can go along way with the progress of any struggle. Like Gabrielle said,
"We need to start giving a damn and continue to give a damn."
"You never know a person's history or their daily struggle. A simple 'How are you doing today?' or 'Let's talk about it' can help so much."
It's safe to say that the lectureship with Gabrielle union, presented by the Gamma Zeta Chapter of Delta Gamma sorority, had a positive impact on everyone who attended.
"It's okay to go slow. take your time. Take internships, things you never thought you'd be interested in. Throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks. it's okay not to have it together."
- Gabrielle Union