National research shows that 60 percent of African-American girls have been sexually assaulted by age 18.
Black women are members of a community that maintains a cultural history of silence in cases of sexual assault largely because of a distrust of authority and fearing that they will not be taken seriously. In addition, Black women often bear a psychological inheritance carried from slavery, a period when they were considered property and were the victims of abuse that was normalized in society.
The U.S.Department of Justice estimates that for every rape reported by a Black woman, at least 15 cases go unreported.
These six Black women, who just happen to be in the public eye, have broken the code of silence to speak about their experience of sexual abuse.
Gabrielle Union has spoken out about being raped at gunpoint when she was 19 while working a summer job at a Payless shoe store. The 41-year-old actress said on ABC’s “The View,” that she did not want to labeled a victim, but a survivor.
“Being a victim is so comfortable,” she said. “People give you attention… but it’s not for something positive… I hated the cloak of victim and I realized that the people around me were going to not let me succeed, or achieve, or meet all of my goals [because of it] and I wanted that cloak of victimhood off. I wanted to embrace being a survivor.”