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Gabrielle Union: 'Talking about teen rape nightmare gives me strength'

Gabrielle Union's life is still influenced by the fear she experienced as a rape victim over two decades ago.

The Bad Boys II star was sexually assaulted at gunpoint while she was working at a Payless shoe store when she was 19, and she still feels the affects of the rape horror 24 years later.

"After I was raped, I didn't leave my house for a whole year unless I had to go to court or to therapy," she writes in her new book We're Going to Need More Wine. "Twenty-four years later, fear still influences everything I do."

Excerpts from the book have been published by People magazine.

The actress' rapist was caught and jailed for 33 years in prison, and following her ordeal, Gabrielle launched and won a negligence lawsuit against Payless bosses after learning her attacker had been identified in a previous robbery at a nearby store but employees were not warned.

In her book, Gabrielle explains she wishes she could have sued the store for the way her father saw her after the assault.

"The way my dad looked at me after (he heard what had happened), oh my God, is still a nightmare," she continues. "I sued Payless for negligence, but I wanted to sue them for my dad looking at me like that. The look was: Damaged. Victim. Guilt. Fear. I was the kid you bragged about. I got great grades. Was the perfect athlete. Blah blah blah. And in that moment, I was damaged."

When she first experienced fame, she refused to brush her rape ordeal to the side, revealing talking about it gave her strength.

"Each time I tell the story is a revelation that I need to keep sharing since there's so many more victims than survivors," she tells People magazine. "They need to know healing is a process - a slow process like moving a boulder uphill with one hand tied behind your back, but there is hope.

"I will never stop sharing, and I will try to educate as much as I can for the voiceless and for people who didn't get my treatment."

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