Gabrielle Union on Capitol Hill

Capital Hill was a bit more glam than usual today, as actress Gabrielle Union appeared to speak out against sexual violence.  

Union, 33, clad in what has become the celebrity Capital Hill uniform of a black pantsuit, pumps, and pulled back hair, took the podium to help inform about the realities of sexual assault, and the needs of victims.  "This is something that can change people’s lives," she told the crowd of about 100.  "As much as I like talking about Will Smith, I’d rather use my voice to help support for adequately funded rape crisis programs."

An avid Union fan had this to say about her selfless act,"I think it’s very important for anyone with money, not just stars, to give back. She did that through her pain and now I like her even more."

Union calmly recalled for the audience how at age 19, she was assaulted at the Payless Shoe Store she worked at, held at gunpoint, and raped.  She said after watching an Oprah special the week before on self-defense against sexual predators, she went on autopilot, but hovered above her body thinking, "I can’t believe this is happening to
me.  I’m a good girl, I did everything right, this only happens to other people, not me."
As Union told the story of her past, she united that tinge of pain with her present mission to be the face and advocate for victimized women everywhere. "1 in 4 women. These aren’t faceless, nameless people. They are the women you watch on TV, your sisters,
your mothers. We aren’t a statistic, we aren’t faceless, we are here in front of you."

"I will gladly be the face of sexual assault, and I will gladly be the face for having adequately funded rape crisis centers," Union said. She is best known for her starring roles in "Bad Boys II", and "Bring It On."