Gabrielle Union on Overcoming Rape Ordeal: “I Hated Feeling Like the Victim”

Gabrielle Union on The View on February 24, 2014
Gabrielle Union opened up Monday, Feb. 24 on The View to discuss how she overcame the horrific ordeal of being raped at gunpoint at 19. ABC/Lou Rocco

Gabrielle Union sat down with the ladies of The View on Monday, Feb. 24 and discussed how she overcame the horrific ordeal of being raped at gunpoint at age 19. (Union had taken a summer job at one of the footwear company's stores in California, when she was assaulted one night by a robber at gunpoint. Union's assailant was later charged and sentenced to 33 years in prison.)

"When something catastrophic happens in your life, everyone rallies around you," 41-year-old Union recalled. "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," the Being Mary Jane star told Jenny McCarthy, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sherri Shepherd of her epiphany. "It makes you lazy."

Wanting to "embrace being a survivor," Union recalled taking back her "power" after filing and winning a negligence lawsuit against Payless Shoes after the incident.

"I wasn't raised to be coddled," the Nebraska native explained. "I was raised to be an independent woman, standing on my own two feet, and that's the road I opted to take." Eventually, Union went on graduate from UCLA with a degree in sociology and signed onto her future modeling/acting career with the same agency where she interned.

The gorgeous star, who got engaged to longtime love Dwyane Wade back in December, shared how she's "excited" to be stepmom to the Miami Heat player's sons Zaire, 11, Zion, 6, and a newborn child Wade fathered with another during a break in their relationship last summer.

This will be both Union and Wade's second marriages. Union was previously married to former NFL player Chris Howard from 2001 to 2006.

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