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Cara Delevingne Comes Forward Amid Harvey Weinstein Accusations

Trigger warning: this article contains discussions about sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.

Even more women are coming out of the woodwork to speak out against sexual abuse and to condemn Harvey Weinstein.

Among the prolific figures to come forward with their experiences with the film executive, who has been accused of multiple accounts of sexual violence, is model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne.

This week, actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Asia Argen have broken their decades of silence surrounding Harvey’s insidious sexual monopoly on Hollywood’s women. These women told their stories to the Times, The New York Times and The New Yorker after all these years because sexual assault is shrouded in silence and victims are persecuted for telling their stories.

This is especially in the cases where perpetrators have as much social capital as Weinstein – women fear the consequences of speaking out. Survivors are failed by a criminal justice system that uses a one-size-fits-all model when tackling the nuances of sexual-assault cases, and then they’re blamed for daring to vocalise their trauma.

Cara is the most recent woman to speak out against Harvey in a post on Instagram. Speaking from personal experience, the actress/model shared her story of sexual harassment and homophobia at the hands of Harvey.

When I first started to work as an actress, i was working on a film and I received a call from‎ Harvey Weinstein asking if I had slept with any of the women I was seen out with in the media. It was a very odd and uncomfortable call….i answered none of his questions and hurried off the phone but before I hung up, he said to me that If I was gay or decided to be with a woman especially in public that I'd never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood. A year or two later, I went to a meeting with him in the lobby of a hotel with a director about an upcoming film. The director left the meeting and Harvey asked me to stay and chat with him. As soon as we were alone he began to brag about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had made their careers and spoke about other inappropriate things of a sexual nature. He then invited me to his room. I quickly declined and asked his assistant if my car was outside. She said it wasn't and wouldn't be for a bit and I should go to his room. At that moment I felt very powerless and scared but didn't want to act that way hoping that I was wrong about the situation. When I arrived I was relieved to find another woman in his room and thought immediately I was safe. He asked us to kiss and she began some sort of advances upon his direction. I swiftly got up and asked him if he knew that I could sing. And I began to sing….i thought it would make the situation better….more professional….like an audition….i was so nervous. After singing I said again that I had to leave. He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room. I still got the part for the film and always thought that he gave it to me because of what happened. Since then I felt awful that I did the movie. I felt like I didn't deserve the part. I was so hesitant about speaking out….I didn't want to hurt his family. I felt guilty as if I did something wrong. I was also terrified that this sort of thing had happened to so many women I know but no one had said anything because of fear.

A post shared by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

‘When I first started to work as an actress, I was working on a film and I received a call from‎ Harvey Weinstein asking if I had slept with any of the women I was seen out with in the media,’ said Cara in the candid caption.

‘It was a very odd and uncomfortable call… I answered none of his questions and hurried off the phone but before I hung up, he said to me that If I was gay or decided to be with a woman, especially in public, that I’d never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood.’

Cara had to interact with the very same Hollywood mogul who sexually harassed her years prior when she found herself in a meeting with Harvey for an upcoming film. The director for the film promptly left after the meeting in the hotel lobby, but Harvey stayed with Cara. According to the actress and model, Harvey then began to intimidate and harass her with inappropriate and sexually explicit conservation.

‘As soon as we were alone, he began to brag about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had made their careers and spoke about other inappropriate things of a sexual nature. He then invited me to his room,’, wrote Cara.

Cara states that she didn’t want to go with Harvey. But considering the executive’s position to either make or break her career, as he’s threatened to do with several women, she felt ‘very powerless and scared but didn’t want to act that way, hoping that I was wrong about the situation’. She revealed that she felt pressured to go with him and was relieved to find another woman waiting in his hotel room. The presence of this other woman put her at ease, but then Harvey asked for the two women to kiss and ‘[the woman] began some sort of advances upon his direction.’

Cara sang to defuse the situation, trying desperately to redirect the nature of being in his hotel room with another woman on the premise of engaging in a sexual activity that she didn’t consent to. She continued in her post, writing, ‘I was so nervous. After singing, I said again that I had to leave. He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room.’

She ended up snagging the role in the undisclosed film, but the guilt and shame of not telling Harvey where to shove it for fear of either violence or persecution in the industry affected her. ‘Since then I felt awful that I did the movie. I felt like I didn’t deserve the part,’ she said.  Because of rape culture and the silence we impose on victims to protect their abusers, she wrote that she didn’t report the incident because she ‘didn’t want to hurt his family’.

Cara emphasised the fear of not being able to come forward because of Harvey’s power. The dynamics that arise from standing up against a man of his stature made Cara feel she couldn’t say anything. She writes, ‘I felt guilty as if I did something wrong. I was also terrified that this sort of thing had happened to so many women I know, but no-one had said anything because of fear.’

Some may argue that these prolific women are in an advantageous position to step forward. It’s true that celebrities are protected by wealth and resources that create a safety net of security. But these women are hyper-visible in a world where the more space you take up as a woman, the higher the risk of being publicly persecuted.

Gender-based violence affects all women, femmes, and non-binary individuals, whether you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth or not.

Female survivors who happen to be celebrities are using their social clout to let women know that it’s okay to speak up. They’re also sending a message that it’s okay to fear for your safety when publicly coming forward. Their courage to speak up says we weren’t listening before but we’re here to listen now.

Cara followed up with these sentiments of solidarity in a separate post. She expressed respect for women who were brave enough to share their stories and encouraged others to be unafraid to share their experiences with each other. She wrote, ‘I want women and girls to know that being harassed or abused or raped is NEVER their fault and not talking about it will always cause more damage than speaking the truth.’

‘In every industry and especially in Hollywood, men abuse their power and get away with it,’ Cara said. ‘This must stop. The more we talk about it, the less power we give them. I urge you all to talk and to the people who defend these men, you are part of the problem.’

If you have been sexually victimised or want to help other women share their stories, please contact these organisations:

Rape Crisis Helpline: 021 447 9762

Stop Gender Violence Helpline: 0800 150 150

POWA Helpline: 083 765 1235

National Counselling Helpline: 0861 322 322

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