Ashley Graham Reveals She Was Sexually Molested at Age 10

| Celebrity
Ashley-Graham Jamie-McCarthy
(Photo: Getty / Jamie McCarthy)

In her new memoir, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, model Ashley Graham reveals that she was sexually molested by a family friend at age 10.

According to PEOPLE, Graham writes that the 18-year-old son of her parents' friends forced her to touch his erection when they were in her laundry room drying off after being in the pool. The 29-year-old wrote that she was frightened by the experience and fled the room, but that the episode "left me with so many lingering questions."

In her memoir, Graham also opened up about growing up with her abusive father, who at one point sided with model agency execs who told her she needed to lose weight to be successful. When Graham told her parents about the agent's hurtful words, she says her father reacted with little sympathy, telling her maybe she should lose weight.

In being open about her struggles, Graham is helping to destigmatize sexual and verbal abuse, a topic that is unfortunately so common despite the silence that hides it from the public eye. According to RAINN, as many as 63,000 children were victims of sexual abuse each year between 2009 and 2013.

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While today Graham has many achievements under her belt (like being the first curvy model featured in Sports Illustrated, landing the cover of Vogue, being a judge on America's Next Top Model and being an outspoken advocate for body positivity), her path has clearly been laced with adversity.

In the memoir, she reveals that upon moving to New York, she experimented with drugs like cocaine and ecstasy in order to be "popular." Her plan backfired when during her second year in New York, her alcohol and drug abuse reached a point where she almost got fired from her modeling agency after missing a flight to a job because she had been partying all night.

Her agency ended up accepting her apology, but she says that she used the experience as a turning point. “I hit bottom,” she writes.

While she admits that she hasn't stopped drinking and partying altogether, she did learn how to be more in control.

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