The actress, 50, detailed how she struggled to film the series during an appearance on CBS on Wednesday.
Union, who was assaulted at gun point while working her summer job, described how the show – which focuses on ‘sexual violence of young people in the Bay Area’ – forced her to reckon with the ‘full brunt’ of the rape she endured as a teenager.
‘My brain was pulling back the curtain on everything’: Gabrielle Union has revealed how filming season three of the drama series Truth Be Told unearthed memories of the rape she survived at age 19
The Bring It On actress was unaware of the ‘depths’ of the disassociation she had endured during the attack until she started working on the show.
‘The show is about sexual violence of young people in the Bay Area. At 19 I experienced sexual violence, I was raped at gunpoint at my job, and I was very clear about everything that had happened, but throughout the filming of this show, I realized the depths of disassociation.
‘So, when it was happening, and when I’ve been describing this for 25 years, when it was happening, I left my body, and that is what they call disassociation, sort of removing yourself mentally from where you’re at.
‘But I thought I came back into myself by the time the police arrived. But throughout the filming of this show, what I realized is that for 30 years, I thought I knew everything that had happened, but my mind was protecting me, and so over those five months, it was like my brain was pulling back the curtain on everything – smells, everything that happened, what his skin felt like, all of it, was finally revealed to me.
‘My mind was protecting me’: The Bring It On actress was unaware of the ‘depths’ of the disassociation she had endured during the attack until she started working on the show
‘For 30 years, I thought I knew. And what I realized is that I wouldn’t have survived at 19 understanding the enormity of the trauma. And, when I think about it, I was raped one time. One time, and 30 years later I’m still struggling. Victims of sexual violence experience this over and over and over again indefinitely until they decide you have no more value.’
Gabrielle said she ‘struggled’ off camera filming the show, which had similarities to her own ordeal.
‘I cried, and I’m not a weepy person at all. At all. And I would go home every night and I would cry. And my husband is like, “What’s happening?”
Her friends eventually arranged a ‘rebirth’ ceremony for her in order for her to ‘release’ the trauma.
Stepping out: Union was spotted arriving to CBS Studios in a denim maxi skirt and black blazer
On the last day of filming, she went to Malibu where she was met with West African drummers and elders who helped her become the ‘woman that I’m going to be.’
‘And it was like finally feeling the full brunt of my rape and having to use that pain for art, for the greater good, and I just felt such an enormous responsibility, and I wasn’t exactly prioritizing myself, I just didn’t factor that into the work experience, to the point where my friends scheduled a “rebirth” on the day that the show wrapped.
‘And I literally went from set to Malibu, and I got to the beach and I hear these West African drummers, and the elders, basically welcoming me into the woman that I’m going to be, so I can finally release this trauma.’
Gabrielle was spotted arriving to CBS Studios in a denim maxi skirt, black blazer, and platform heels.
Season three of Truth Be Told will premiere on Apple TV+ on January 20.
Coming soon: Season three of Truth Be Told will premiere on Apple TV+ on January 20.