WOMEN
01/09/2018 18:28 EST

Ashley Graham Points Out Importance Of #MeToo With Her Own Harrowing Experience

“If I knew what I knew now, I would’ve smacked that guy.”

Model Ashley Graham praised the impact of the #MeToo movement on Tuesday as she spoke about her own experience with sexual harassment.

Graham, 30, said she was 17 when a photo assistant lured her away from a photoshoot, pushed her into a closet and exposed himself.

“He said, ‘Look at what you did to me all day long, now touch it,’” she recalled during an appearance on “The View.” 

Graham said she kept quiet out of fear.

“I just prayed that no one would find out,” she said. “Because if they found out that he did that to me, I thought, ‘I’m never going to get hired for a job again. I’m going to be the difficult model, nobody’s going to want to work with me again.’”

Graham said she might have felt more empowered to come forward if the #MeToo movement had existed at the time. 

“If I knew what I knew now, I would’ve smacked that guy,” Graham said. “I would’ve been like, ‘He’s a pedophile!’ because I was 17. And he is being completely dishonest, irresponsible, sexual harassment ― I probably would’ve just started screaming. I would have called my agency.”

Graham concluded that “the movement is working.” 

“I really feel like there’s women who are standing up and saying ‘No, me too. And I’m going to watch out for my sisters on set,’” she said. 

“The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg echoed Graham’s sentiments.

“People are watching,” she said. “Men and women are watching and they’re saying ‘You know? This is not gonna work. We’re not doing this anymore.’”