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Cameron Russell Shares Stories of Sexual Assault in the Modeling Industry

The 30-year-old model and activist is posting direct messages from fellow models about their assault experiences

The recent Harvey Weinstein allegations—first exposed by a bombshell report in the New York Times—have been something of a tipping point for other women (and men, like James Van Der Beek and Terry Crews) who’ve experienced similar situations. Take Blake Lively for instance, who yesterday revealed that a makeup artist taped her while she was sleeping. Or former Playboy Playmate Carrie Stevens, who just accused director Oliver Stone of grabbing her breasts at a party. And One Tree Hill’s Hilarie Burton, who was allegedly groped by Ben Affleck. (Rose McGowan, who said she was raped by Weinstein, supported Burton by tweeting: f*ck off, Ben.) Sexual assault is rampant, and sadly extends beyond Hollywood, as evidenced by model Cameron Russell, who’s encouraging other models to come forward with their own tales of sexual assault by posting their stories on her Instagram.

“We need a way to begin breaking the silence while remaining protected,” Russell, 30, wrote. “We are not talking about one, five, or even twenty men. We are talking about a culture of exploitation and it must stop.” While each post has come from an anonymous source (Russell explained that doing so will prevent victims from feeling afraid of exposure and backlash), it’s evident that there are a lot of men like Weinstein in the world. She revealed that she’s received more than 100 direct messages so far about assault experiences from photographers, casting directors, and designers, and if you can stomach it, her feed right now is worth a look. You can search the hashtag she’s using: #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse. 

Russell is no stranger to activism—she’s both a UN advocate and an ambassador for the Rainforest Alliance, and her 2012 TEDTalk about the culture of beauty was a bold feat. Kudos to her for continuing to use her platform for good (fellow model Edie Campbell publicly thanked her for sharing models’ stories), and here’s hoping this new wave of allegations brings about some much-needed change. 

If you’ve experienced sexual assault or abuse, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

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