'Time' Named #MeToo Movement's 'Silence Breakers' as Its Person of the Year & Here's Why That Matters

Did you know that, according to an ABC News-Washington Post poll, 68 percent of women experience unwanted sexual advances at work? And of those 68 percent, 75 percent reported the harassment coming from someone in a position of power over their job. This is why Time is naming the #MeToo movement and its “Silence Breakers” as its Person of the Year.

The Silence Breakers are the dozens of people—both men and women—who have spoken out against the sexual assault they’ve experienced specifically in their workplace and contributed to rapidly spreading awareness of these incidences in the past few months. Publishing a cover featuring women with prominent sexual harassment stories, such as Taylor Swift, actress Ashley Judd and former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, Time has made a bold statement about the validity of these victims' experiences, and many have applauded the magazine for its decision.

From Judd’s experience with major film producer Harvey Weinstein to an anonymous hospital worker who only features her arm on the magazine cover, all of these people seen in the Person of the Year feature share one similarity: they had experienced sexual harassment while at their job.

 

According to the New York Times,  the explosion of #MeToo, a movement initially created by activist Tarana Burke and made viral by a tweet from Alyssa Milano, has led to over 12 million people speaking out about sexual violence. This is a huge issue that has previously been silenced because the perpetrators are usually people in positions of power. People like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer are manipulating other people who are vulnerable to their roles in their workplace.

Workplace harassment is not funny and it’s not a joke. This problem needs to be highlighted and victims’ voices need to be amplified so action is taken against these people of power. As seen in the National Women’s Law Center's workplace justice fact sheet about sexual harassment in the workplace, employers can be legally responsible for sexual harassment against their employees. Perpetrators need to be held accountable for their actions, and Time choosing to highlight those who spoke out against their harassers is a major step in the right direction. However, criticism of the decision stems from factors such as naming President Donald Trump as the year's runner-up while he is listed as an abuser in the cover piece and highlighting certain public figures over others who have spoken out.

Regardless of these critiques, the only way to create real change is to speak up and out about it. Be a Silence Breaker. It seems that real change is stemming from this and we hope that change continues.

About The Author

Marisa Pieper is a student at Arizona State University studying Fashion and Communication. She loves to discuss the latest style and beauty trends, is always excited to see what everyone is digging at the moment and loves to talk politics (miss you Barack and Michelle).