TIME magazine has announced their Person of the Year, and it’s actually People: the silence breakers who have come forward about the sexual harassment and assault they’ve experienced — as TIME calls them, “the voices that launched a movement.”
The cover of the print edition features Ashley Judd and Taylor Swift, along with strawberry picker using the pseudonym Isabel Pascual, Oregon Senator Sara Gelser, and corporate lobbyist Adama Iwu, as well as the elbow of a hospital worker who still fears the repercussions of identifying herself.
There has been discussion about the inclusion of Taylor Swift, who hasn’t played a major role in the #MeToo movement and only spoke out when it happened to her. Many have suggested women like Kesha, whose career was severely damaged by her accusations, or longtime activists like Gabrielle Union or Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo hashtag to address sexual assault 10 years ago and was featured in the TIME article.
The digital edition highlights, in interviews and a video, those women and many more women and men, from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of stories: Actresses Alyssa Milano, Selma Blair, and Rose McGowan. Actor Terry Crews. Former hotel housekeeper Juana Melara. The group of hospitality workers suing the Plaza Hotel for sexual harassment and assault. Several university professors. Former dishwasher Sandra Pezqueda. Movie director Blaise Godbe Lipman. Former FOX contributor Wendy Walsh. Food blog editor Lindsey Reynolds. Entrepreneur Lindsay Meyer. Journalists Sandra Muller and Megyn Kelly. Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler. Art curator Amanda Schmitt. And an anonymous former office assistant. Each has their own story to tell and their own reason for coming forward — and they’re a reminder that it’s a problem that isn’t limited to sexy, high-profile industries — but they’re all brave for doing so.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that women who don’t come forward with their abuse aren’t also honorable — they have the right to do what they feel is best for their life, livelihood, and safety. But TIME’s silence breakers have, hopefully, made it possible for those women to come forward safely and without fear. This honor is well deserved and, sadly, hard earned.