When Donald Trump tweeted that he turned down Time’s Person of the Year, I thought how powerful would it be if The Person of the Year was women. In 2017 we have seen women from all backgrounds win elections, fight for change in big ways and break the silence surrounding sexual assault and harassment in the United States. While I am always proud to be a woman, 2017 has given me a different sense of pride. 2017 has proven that women are not to be messed with.
On December 6th Time released its Person of the Year issue: The Silence Breakers. The Silence Breakers are the women, and some men, who triggered a national movement. The Silence Breakers are women and men who found the courage to speak out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault; the women who made it easier for all of us to find our voices and share our stories.
Some of the women featured in the issue include:
Ashley Judd: Judd was the first actress to go on the record accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. After years of telling everyone should could, the world finally decided to listen. After her accusal, 80 more women followed suit accusing Weinstein of assault and harassment. From here, a movement was created.
Tarana Burke: Tarana is the original creator of the #MeToo movement. She created the movement over 10 years ago to help young women who have been sexually abused, assaulted, exploited or harassed. This movement has allowed thousands of women to find solidarity in sharing their stories.
Susan Fowler: You may remember the story of harassment that went unpunished at Uber brought to light by a former engineer. That viral blog post was written by Susan Fowler. The balance of power in Silicon Valley has shifted since.
Sara Gelser: Sarah is a Senator in the state of Oregon who’s formal complaint launched an investigation into the many accusations of sexual misconduct by Senator Jeff Kruse. Her complaint stated that at least 15 women had similar experiences over many years.
Adama Iwu: Adama organized an open letter to call out sexual harassment in California state politics. The letter was signed by 147 women and launched a state-senate investigation. Adama organized the letter as a response to being groped in front of colleagues.
An unnamed woman: On the cover, you may have noticed the arm of someone who cannot fully be seen. This is the most powerful part of the issue. Time Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal stated that this women represents all of those who have yet to come forward or fear coming forward due to the repercussions they may face. This woman is a hospital worker who didn’t feel she could come forward without threatening her livelihood.
Time’s Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal told NBC’s “Today” show, “The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover, along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s”. Over the last 2 months we have seen Hollywood elites, politicians and CEO’s fired and disgraced. Gone are the days of women fearing being fired from a job they can’t lose or trying to get along in “a man’s world”. The Silence Breakers have started a revolution and we cannot let it stop here.