Actress Gabrielle Union is just one of the many people outraged by Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments.
On August 19, Akin told St. Louis’s KTVI that a woman’s body “has ways to try to shut the whole thing down” in cases of “legitimate rape.” He later claimed that he misspoke, but fellow Republicans are still calling for him to drop out of the Senate race because of the controversy.
Union, who was once a victim of rape, was understandably outraged by the representative’s comment. In a roundtable discussion on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, Union said:
“I was shocked and I would say saddened, except it pissed me off. So I shot Todd a little Twitter message today explaining kindly—though I didn’t realize there was a need to—that all rape, Todd, is legitimate.”
Union then went on to say that all rape victims should “have equal access to services and justice and health care.”
In 1992, when she was 19, Union was working part-time at a shoe store in California. The store was robbed and the robber put a gun to her head and raped her. Union said she “blanked out and had an out-of-body experience, like [she] was hovering above seeing this horrible thing happen to someone else.” Her attacker later turned himself in and was sentenced to 33 years in prison.
Since then, Gabrielle Union has been lobbying for state legislatures and the federal government to raise funds and awareness for rape crisis centers. She is also on the National Advisory Committee for Violence Against Women.
“My goal is to never hear the words ‘me too’ from someone after I say ‘I was raped,’” Union said.