TIME magazine has just announced its Person of the Year for 2017 – and it turns out it’s not one person, but people. Calling them The Silence Breakers, TIME chose the many men and women who raised their voices about sexual abuse in Hollywood over the past year.
The feature profiles celebrities including Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano and Selma Blair, as well as a number of working men and women who have faced experiences of sexual abuse. Journalists, Uber drivers, university professors, hospital workers, an art curator and more are all profiled. These are “the voices that launched a movement.”
Of the dozens of people interviewed, there was a similarity among the stories. “In almost every case, they described not only the vulgarity of the harassment itself—years of lewd comments, forced kisses, opportunistic gropes—but also the emotional and psychological fallout from those advances,” TIME writes. “Almost everybody described wrestling with a palpable sense of shame. Had she somehow asked for it? Could she have deflected it? Was she making a big deal out of nothing?”
Judd talks about feeling helpless after film producer Harvey Weinstein tried to assault her. “There wasn’t a place for us to report these experiences,” she says of Hollywood.
Swift said her decision to countersue former radio DJ David Mueller, who was fired after groping the singer then tried to sue her, was about other women. “If he would be brazen enough to assault me under these risky circumstances, imagine what he might do to a vulnerable, young artist if given the chance.” The pop star countersued Mueller for a symbolic $1 – and won.