Emily Ratajkowski Explains Why She Didn't Speak Out for Years After Robin Thicke Allegedly Groped Her

"I was an unknown model and if I had spoken out or complained, I would not be where I am today; I would not be famous," Emily Ratajkowski tells PEOPLE

Emily Ratajkowski is speaking candidly about the recent allegations she made against Robin Thicke.

The 30-year-old model accused the singer of groping her in an excerpt from her upcoming debut book My Body. The model is now speaking to PEOPLE about why she didn't initially come forward about the incident, which allegedly took place while on the set of the music video for Thicke's controversial 2013 single "Blurred Lines." In the uncensored version of the video, she and two other models appeared topless.

"I was an unknown model and if I had spoken out or complained, I would not be where I am today; I would not be famous," Ratajkowski tells PEOPLE exclusively at the CoinGeek Conference cocktail party this week.

Emily Ratajkowski
Emily Ratajkowski. Eugene Gologursky/Getty

Ratajkowski attributes her decision to speak out now to her growth and change in perspective over the years and says she's hoping fans are able to recognize that through her book.

"I wrote a book about the evolution of my politics and that includes a lot of different experiences from my career and my life and the way that I felt and thought about those experiences have evolved," she adds. "I hope people are able to read the essay and understand the nuance behind these kinds of situations."

Emily Ratajkowski My Body Cover

In the excerpt from My Body, published by The Sunday Times, Ratajkowski wrote that she initially enjoyed working on the music video, which featured an all-female crew, until she and Thicke, 44, were alone on set. "Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and foreignness of a stranger's hands cupping my bare breasts from behind," she wrote. "I instinctively moved away, looking back at Robin Thicke."

"He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set. [The director, Diane Martel's] voice cracked as she yelled out to me, 'Are you okay?' " she continued.


Martel confirmed Ratajkowski's allegations to The Sunday Times. "I screamed in my very aggressive Brooklyn voice, 'What the f— are you doing, that's it!! The shoot is over!!'" she recalled, adding: "Robin sheepishly apologized. As if he knew it was wrong without understanding how it might have felt for Emily."

She noted that "everything had been very sweet and enjoyable" until then, and she threatened to shut down production, but when she checked on Ratajkowski, the model "was very professional and said we could go on."

Ratajkowski wrote that she was "desperate to minimize" the weight of the situation. "I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body," she noted. "I didn't react — not really, not like I should have."

Representatives for Robin Thicke could not be reached by PEOPLE for comment.

RELATED VIDEO: Emily Ratajkowski Accuses Photographer Jonathan Leder of Sexual Assault in Powerful Personal Essay

The I Feel Pretty actress tells PEOPLE that though it's "complicated," she's hoping her story can serve as an example to other women or models who have gone through similar situations.

"I think all women, we all play the game, capitalizing off of your image, commodifying their body, that's the world that we live in and I would never tell a woman that she shouldn't but I also would hope that they understand that that's sort of a double-edged sword," Ratajkowski says.

Coming to that realization, the model is working to change the narrative, and as a new mom to 6-month-old son Sylvester "Sly" Apollo — whom she shares with husband Sebastian Bear-McClard — Ratajkowski says she hopes to start by teaching her son about feminism.

"I would like the way that we think about women and men to change and the power dynamics that are unspoken, to change," she explains.

Read Emily Ratajkowski's collection of essays My Body, which is available Nov. 9 from Macmillan Publishers.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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