Ashley Graham's new memoir reveals that the model was sexually assaulted by a family friend at age 10. People reports that the book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, details the moment her parents' friends' 18-year-old son approached her while they were drying off after swimming in the pool and made her touch his penis without consent. Graham says the incident “left me with so many lingering questions.”
This is the first time Graham, who's gained fame as a plus-size model, has spoken out about the experience. However, she's always been vocal about other issues, especially her body and how she fights society's narrow definitions of beautiful. Just last month she opened up about how, in the past, boyfriends would break things off because of her weight.
"I’ve lived the torment of boyfriends breaking up with me because they were afraid I was going to be too fat later in life," she said. "It’s the same cycle, it doesn’t matter what generation we are in. Every kid is going to go through the same thing."
Her memoir reveals that she went through similar emotional abuse at the hands of her father, who would point-blank tell her to lose weight as she was getting started in the modeling industry.
Graham hopes her achievements, like landing the covers Sports Illustrated and Vogue UK, will inspire those going through similar body image issues to be unabashedly themselves.
"We are going to be the ones that say, you know, it doesn't matter what size you are," she told Good Morning America about the Sports Illustrated cover. "It doesn't matter if you have cellulite. It doesn't matter if things jiggle where they’re not supposed to. That’s still beautiful."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).