On Dec. 6, 2017, Time magazine announced “The Silence Breakers” as their 2017 Person of the Year. No, “Silence Breakers” isn’t a new Netflix show or an underground rock band; it’s a group of bold individuals who launched the revolutionary #MeToo Movement. This movement has changed our world in only a few short months, giving countless women and men the courage to speak out against sexual misconduct.
The #MeToo campaign has arguably been in existence for decades, thanks to the individuals who have been brave enough to tell the world about their experiences as victims of sexual abuse. However, the recent wave of A-list celebrities being accused of sexual misconduct was catalyzed by a New York Times article published on Oct. 5, 2017. The article represented actress Ashley Judd’s account of the foul behavior of Harvey Weinstein. This article was the spark that ignited the movement, causing other victims such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne to all speak out about their own experiences with Weinstein.
In the weeks immediately following these accusations, the hashtag #MeToo was coined on social media, bringing the magnitude of the issue to light. With the creation of this movement, countless other victims – from janitors and housekeepers to actors and artists – found the courage to raise their voice against sexual assault. Victims have even found ways to share their story while still concealing their identity (see photo above).
While the problem is predominantly one that involves a male perpetrator and a female victim, sexual misconduct is not specific to any one group of individuals. It does not select victims by occupation, race or social class. It does not claim victims of solely one gender. The Time magazine Person of the Year announcement intentionally depicts the diversity of the victims of sexual misconduct.
From pop star Taylor Swift to actor Terry Crews, A-List celebrities have been making recent headlines for speaking out against their assaulters. Less often depicted in the headlines, however, is sexual misconduct is present in many other occupations, including with college professors and hotel housekeepers. Time beautifully crafted their announcement in a way that showcases this disparity among those involved in the #MeToo campaign.
The Silence Breakers come from all races, sizes, classes and genders. They are a collective group of individuals who have the courage to share their truth with the world, or even simply with a loved one. They exist on your TV screens, radios and social media outlets. They exist on your college campuses, in your neighborhoods and even within your families. They are powerful, they are strong and they will change the world.