With the #MeToo movement gaining momentum, more and more employees are coming forward with their stories of on-the-job sexual harassment and abuse. The Model Alliance has recently joined the #MeToo voices with the release of an open letter signed by 100 models, including Milla Jovovich. The letter demands contractual protection for models, so that they don’t have to fear being victimized by sexual abuse and harassment.
The RESPECT Program, which was described in the open letter, asks brands, media companies, modeling agencies and others in the industry to commit to providing safer working conditions to models and others. The letter references numerous unaddressed instances of sexual misconduct that has occurred in the fashion industry. The letter says that these instances of misconduct should be viewed as violations of human rights rather than public relations disasters to be covered up and reframed.
The letter says, “As models, our images serve a commercial purpose, but our bodies remain ours. Agreeing to be photographed or filmed as professional representatives of a product or brand does not constitute agreement to be groped, fondled, involuntarily disrobed or worse.”
The RESPECT Program asks models to talk about their stories of sexual harassment openly. The RESPECT program also wants a code of conduct that all employers and employees need to adhere to. This code of conduct will require training about the rights of employees who have been victimized by sexual harassment. It further seeks to establish an independent enforcement body that will investigate and rule on instances of sexual harassment and misconduct against models. In addition, it wants stricter contracts that lay out consequences for employers that allow sexual harassment to occur.
If you’ve suffered from sexual harassment at your workplace, it’s time to stand up for your rights. You don’t have to be a model or a Hollywood star to suffer from this kind of abuse at work. And you certainly don’t need to be a model or star to make your abuse stop once and for all.
Source: papermag.com, “Models Launch RESPECT Program to Address Sexual Misconduct In Fashion,” Vrinda Jagota, May 16, 2018