By Shannon Frost Greenstein
Time Magazine’s Person of the Year has been revealed, and it’s not technically a “person.” Well, that is to say…it’s not a single person. It’s a group, a number of individuals who deserve the honor for their bravery, fortitude, and ethos.
2017’s “Person of the Year” is the Silence Breakers, women who have come forward in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the “Me, too” campaign on social media to discuss their experience with sexual harassment or assault.
One of those women is superstar Taylor Swift, who testified in her own sexual assault trial recently regarding a 2013 incident when she was groped by a DJ during a press tour.
Taylor granted her first interview since the trial to Time Magazine, and was very clear on what gave her the courage to pursue justice. Namely?
“I was angry.”
Taylor wrote, “When I testified, I had already been in court all week and had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team including my mother over inane details and ridiculous minutiae, accusing them, and me, of lying.”
Taylor’s testimony has been lauded as one of strength and clarity, as she refused to be intimidated by the opposing legal counsel’s techniques. When asked why she felt it was important to come forward in the first place, she responded, “I figured that if he would be brazen enough to assault me under these risky circumstances and high stakes, imagine what he might do to a vulnerable, young artist if given the chance. It was important to report the incident to his radio station because I felt like they needed to know.”
Surprisingly, Taylor was not suing the DJ in court, but was rather the defendant in the defamation case. The trial originated after Taylor reported the DJ’s actions to his employer, he was subsequently fired, and then sued her for defamation. Her testimony was in support of a countersuit, in which she asked for only a single symbolic dollar.
Time Magazine is recognizing Taylor, and all the “Silence Breakers”, as public figures, true notable individuals who are catalyzing the conversation around sexual impropriety and working for change. While she might be the most visible, she is no more or less significant than ANY woman who has mustered up the courage to voice a sexual harassment or assault complaint.
Women’s rights are human rights, and we here fully support this public recognition of the brave women who are putting themselves in the uncomfortable spotlight to help women down the road. Well done, Time, Taylor, and all of the “Silence Breakers”…we see you. We hear you. We care.