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Nate Parker: ‘One of my own sisters is a sexual assault survivor’

Actor and filmmaker Nate Parker has discovered one of his sisters was sexually assaulted as he attempts to deal with the fall-out from his own 17-year-old rape charges.
The Birth of a Nation director and star was accused of raping a fellow student at Penn State University in 1999 and later acquitted, but the controversy reared up earlier this year (16) after Parker’s historical drama started generating a buzz.
The woman who accused him has since committed suicide.
The headlines garnered by the rape scandal and the accuser’s death has prompted film festival bosses to turn on Parker and pull his acclaimed new movie from their slates, and he has walked out on interviewers who wanted more information about the 1999 rape trial.
“The last four weeks going through it, watching the ticker of salacious headlines, asking myself, ‘What are these journalists trying to do? Do they care about anyone involved…?’ I think it’s been a travesty on so many levels,” Parker tells U.S. TV talk show host Steve Harvey.
But rather than get upset with the way the media is bringing up the past, Nate has decided to use the drama as an opportunity to address sexual violence against women.
He adds, “I can get upset with the media and be mad or I can say, ‘What can come out of this that can be productive?’
“One thing the media did by this thing resurfacing, in my opinion, we need to talk about something that is epidemic in America, that no one’s talking about. And if this film or if this moment has to be something that puts our eyes and the spotlight on it, then so be it – and that is violence against women… by men in this country.”
Parker reveals he has received text messages from sex abuse victims offering him their support, and the correspondence made him turn to his own family members: “There are so many survivors that you would never even know,” he says. “I’m going to my family… I have four young sisters; one of my sisters is a survivor of sexual assault.”
And now he is making sure other young men in his family don’t go through the same college hell he went through in 1999.
“I just sent my 18-year-old nephew to college and we had a very clear conversation about this very thing,” he says. “The way you’re supposed to respect women and carry yourself around women and treat them and protect them.”

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