Despite the trauma she endured at the hands of a rapist at the age of 19, Gabrielle Union calls the experience her "Aha! moment" in the April 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
"It wasn't long before I became uncomfortable with feeling like a victim," Union says, describing how the attack taught her to discern who was in her life for positive reasons and who were simply "so-called friends," many of whom she says visited after the incident only to gawk and gather a first-hand account of what she looked like.
Union has been vocal about her attack in the past, appearing on an Oprah radio show and testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2009 about being raped. Union was also tapped last year to sit on the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women.
In her sit-down with The Oprah Magazine, which she tweeted might be "one of my favorite interviews I've ever done," Union says therapy helped her determine who was in her life to encourage "survivorhood" and who was there to promote "victimhood."
Being selective in who she keeps close is a practice Union says she uses in deciding which roles to take as well. "In my career, there have been roles I haven't taken because someone involved with the project gave me a bad vibe," she says, recalling a line from the 1997 film "Love Jones," -- "All we have...is all these years."
For Union, those years are better spent surrounded by positive people. "You don't get any points when you get to heaven for putting up with bullshit," she told O.
Union headed to Capitol Hill last month to host a briefing on preventing teen dating violence, tweeting before the event "Good mornin good ppl! Nat'l Advisory Committee meetings on Violence Against Women (& children) 2 day...tryin 2 make a difference."