Ashley Graham Is Using Her Own Sexual Harassment Story to Spread This Message to Other Victims

Body positivity is a wonderful thing, and models like Ashley Graham have been especially helpful in reminding women to love the skin they’re in. Though we've all wished we could be her on more than one occasion, Ashley's modeling career hasn't always been easy.

In the July issue of Glamour magazine, Graham opened up about being sexually harassed when she was 17.

“There was an incident on set of a campaign job when I was 17 years old—I haven’t told this story—and there was a photo assistant who was into me,” Ashley said. “He was like, ‘Hey, come here,’ and he led me into a closet. And I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was going to show me something. And he pulled me in, and he pulled his penis out. And he was like, ‘Grab it.’ And I was like, ‘No! That’s disgusting.’ I freaked out. And thank God I was closer to the door, and I just bolted out.”

As traumatizing as that was, it wasn’t the first time something like it had happened to her. In her book, Ashley detailed a similar situation that occurred when she was 10 and an 18-year-old told her to "grab his erection" while at her parents' house.

As for the photo assistant who sexually harassed her, Graham still sees him around. "I even knew a girl he dated,” she said. “I didn’t tell her because there was a voice in me that said, ‘Maybe he’s changed.’ It was my young mentality. But I told myself, ever since that incident, that I wasn’t going to allow someone at work to manipulate what I wanted to do on set. So any image that you see out there is one that I wanted to take.”

Despite what Ashley went through, she still took her experience and turned it into positive advice for women who may have endured similar things. “The insecure girl inside me was like, ‘Well, maybe I did something.’ To all those girls out there: No, you didn’t do anything.”

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Abbey is a junior at the University of Wyoming and is currently majoring in Journalism. She couldn't imagine a world without Jesus, coffee, The 1975, Twitter or her family. You'll usually find her at a concert or cafe somewhere, which is where she spends majority of her free-time. Talking to band members after their shows is a hobby, along with thrifting & indulging in all aspects of pop culture. After college, she plans to spend more time at concerts, getting paid to write about music and bands.