Gabrielle Union credits author Alice Walker's The Color Purple for "saving her life" after she was raped as a teenager.
The Bad Boys II star was a sophomore in college when she was assaulted at gunpoint at the Payless shoe store where she worked, and in the months that followed she turned to the book to help with her therapy, explaining her mother recommended she read it because it features a character who was beaten and raped by a man she thought was her father.
"I first read The Color Purple when I was 19," she says in an interview for PBS's The Great American Read. "I had been raped and I found myself trying to go from victim to survivor."
"It gave me my hope, it gave me inspiration, it gave me a passageway out," she adds. "Watching (character) Seely's evolution was so transformative... Alice Walker did not sensationalise or sugarcoat the violence of rape, and that inspired me to be very clear and brutally honest... To put it simply, it was a book that saved my life."
Union also insists her horrific rape experience has helped to make her more "resilient".
"The person that was raped at 19 died that day," she continues. "And who came up out of the ashes, the rose that bloomed out of concrete, is the smarter, stronger, braver, more resilient person."
Gabrielle previously opened up about her sexual assault in her 2017 memoir We're Going to Need More Wine, and found writing to be very therapeutic.
"Acknowledging you're in pain is the first step, and then seeking help," she told Good Housekeeping magazine in March (18). "The online community is full of people going through the exact same thing you are."
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