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Taylor Swift Spoke Up as a ‘Time’ ‘Silence Breaker’ on Sexual Assault, & It’s Pretty Inspiring

She was included among Time’s Silence Breakers in its Person of the Year feature, and Taylor Swift commemorated this milestone by giving a rare interview for the magazine’s coverage of the men and women speaking out against their experiences with sexual harassment. Swift was included in the group of Silence Breakers for speaking out against radio DJ David Mueller, who sued Swift for defamation after she told his employer how he grabbed her behind while they posed for a photo together at his radio station in 2013. Swift countersued, asking for just $1 in return, and emerged from the case victorious. Becoming notoriously private in recent years, Swift speaking for this cause only emphasizes that people in all industries are affected by sexual harassment.

“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,” Swift said of Mueller in the Time interview. “It was important to report the incident to his radio station because I felt like they needed to know.”

Swift also addressed her no-BS approach to the case’s trial procedures, saying, “When I testified, I…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…I was on the stand. I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forego any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened.”

Now, we all know the old Taylor is supposedly long gone, but I’m sure the Swift from a decade ago could not have been so assertive in this situation. Apparently, she went all out when she was on the stand in court, and she was even told her account of her assault was “the most amount of times the word ‘ass’ has ever been said in Colorado Federal Court.” 

The singer also pointed out that amidst this “watershed moment” for awareness of widespread sexual harassment are many victims still feeling threatened by their abusers’ hold on them. “When the jury found in my favor, the man who sexually assaulted me was court-ordered to give me a symbolic $1,” she said, “To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself.”

Swift joined actress Ashley Judd, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu, Mexican immigrant Isabel Pascual and the arm of an anonymous woman (representing those afraid to come forward with their stories) on the cover of Time’s Person of the Year issue. Representing the music industry in the group, she also shared what she hopes fans will take away from this groundbreaking movement.

“My advice is that you not blame yourself and do not accept the blame others will try to place on you,” she said. “You should not be blamed for waiting 15 minutes or 15 days or 15 years to report sexual assault or harassment, or for the outcome of what happens to a person after he or she makes the choice to sexually harass or assault you.”

Well said, girl. 

Kristen is a 2017 graduate of Siena College with a degree in English and minors in Writing & Communications and Journalism. Although she constantly pines for life in London after studying there for a semester, she calls New York home for now. In addition to previously working as a writer and Senior Editor for Her Campus Siena, she has worked for Her Campus as a News and Pop Culture blogger and a national editorial intern. Kristen has previously written for New York Minute, London's Health and Fitness, and Electronic Products. She makes far too many references to "Friends" and the British royal family. Her blog, where she talks about books, TV, and film, can be found at Bookworms and Fangirls. Follow her on Twitter @kperroney.
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