Time’s Person of the Year: ‘The Silence Breakers’ for speaking out against sexual harassment


Time magazine has named “The Silence Breakers” as its 2017 Person of the Year, recognizing the women (and some men) who came forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault and helped force a nationwide reckoning.

The magazine calls them “the voices that launched a movement.”

Among them are Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, the actresses whose stunning accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein helped lead to his downfall; and activist Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement, along with the Hollywood star who amplified it on social media, Alyssa Milano.

“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,” Time’s editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday.

The media’s endless stream of sexual misconduct investigations and the countless #MeToo accounts of harassment, abuse and worse have ensnared an ever-growing list of public figures — celebrities, executives, politicians, business leaders, whose lives and careers have come crashing down, or are dangerously close to doing so.

Like Russell Simmons and Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey and James Levine and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Like John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the erstwhile dean of the House who resigned Tuesday amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment.

The barrage of sexual misconduct accusations, from Hollywood to Capitol Hill, came after the Weinstein scandal exploded in public view — with claims from numerous women who said he sexually harassed them and even raped them.

And a social media movement emerged with the hashtag #MeToo, which has been used more than 3 million times on Twitter, according to company data. A wave of survivors came forward, some telling wrenching stories of abuse, harassment and rape in public for the first time.

The hashtag succeeded in showing the world the volume of the problem. But as it grew, #MeToo showed something else, as well: the burden survivors of sexual and harassment and assault bear when asked to come forward.

In its first viral days, the hashtag largely amplified the stories of white women, following the lead of actress Alyssa Milano. But “Me Too” had been the mantra of a decade-old fight against sexual abuse before it became a hashtag, and was originally conceived by a woman of color.

Burke, a longtime activist and organizer, first identified the power “Me Too” could have to help women and girls who survived sexual abuse. In an October interview, she wondered what would follow in the weeks and years after the hashtag faded away.


Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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