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Gabrielle Union Opens Up About Her 30-Year Battle With PTSD After Being Raped At Gunpoint

The Hollywood actress and author took to Instagram to describe what it's like living with anxiety and panic attacks after she was sexually assaulted at the age of 19. 

By Jax Miller
Gabrielle Union attends the Los Angeles premiere of Apple's "They Call Me Magic"

Hollywood star Gabrielle Union is discussing what it’s like to live with PTSD, which she developed after she was raped when she was 19 years old.

The “Bring It On” actress posted an edited video on Instagram on Wednesday, showing her and her husband, Dwyane Wade, at the 2022 Met Gala. With text, she depicted her husband as “anxiety” before welcoming him into her arms while a crew member (labeled “triggers”) moved around her Versace dress.

“As a rape survivor, I have battled PTSD for 30 years,” the 49-year-old actress captioned. “Living with anxiety and panic attacks all these years has never been easy.”

Union previously discussed being raped at gunpoint in her 2017 memoir, “We’re Going To Need More Wine,” which placed on the New York Times bestseller list and earned her a nomination for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Glamour magazine published an excerpt of her book, where Union described the harrowing ordeal when she was raped at a Payless shoe store, eventually attempting to shoot her attacker as he assaulted her.

“There’s times the anxiety is so bad it shrinks my life,” Union continued on Instagram. “Leaving the house or making a left-hand turn at an uncontrolled light can fill me with terror. Anxiety can turn my anticipation about a party or a fun event I’ve been excited about attending (Met Ball) into pure agony.”

“The Birth Of A Nation” star has spoken before about rape, including when she penned a 2016 LA Times op-ed regarding 1999 sexual assault allegations made against Nate Parker, the film’s writer and director. Union, who played a rape victim in the movie, said she couldn’t “take the allegations lightly.”

“When we tell y’all what we are experiencing, please believe us the first time we mention it. No, it’s not like being nervous, and everyone experiences and deals with anxiety differently, and that’s OK,” Union continued in Wednesday’s post. “I don’t need you to try to ‘fix’ me.”

Union said she hoped her mental health journey could inspire others.

Many celebrities reacted to Union’s Instagram post, including Uzo Aduba, Octavia Spencer, and U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who applauded Union for creating “so much space for others.”

“I share this as I hope everyone living with anxiety knows they aren’t along or ‘being extra,’” Union concluded. “I see you, I FEEL you, and there is so much love for you. Always. Love and light, good people. Be good to each other out there.”

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