#MeToo Survivors Named TIME’s Person of the Year

It all started with a slogan, which became a hashtag, which has now transformed into a movement. #MeToo has done more than give women a platform to tell their own personal stories about sexual assault. It gives women the courage to speak out and take down their abusers.

On December 6, 2017, TIME magazine announced that the #MeToo survivors, also calling them “The Silence Breakers,” would be TIME’s Person of the Year in 2017.

The #MeToo movement went viral around October 2017 in response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations that broke in the news earlier that month. The #MeToo movement was started by Tarana Burke in 2006 to help victims of sexual harassment and assault in underprivileged communities connect with other victims of sexual assault. The hashtag went viral when actress Alyssa Milano promoted it to give a voice to sexual assault victims in light of the events of Harvey Weinstein.

If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n

— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) Oct. 15, 2017

After that tweet, social media was flooded of women saying #MeToo and telling their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. It was widely shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat as well as other platforms. According to the Associated Press, it was shared in more than 12 million posts and reactions in the first 24 hours of going viral.

In the wake of the movement, there was a tidal wave of woman after woman, person after person, sharing their stories of sexual assault. They stood up and accused powerful, misogynistic abusers who have silenced surviviors for far too long.

The women highlighted in this issue (along with Burke and Milano), include Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Selma Blair, Sara Gelser, Taylor Swift, Sandra Pezqueda, Isabel Pascual, Lindsay Meyer, Juana Melara, Sandra Muller, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu and countless others. This movement highlights women of different professions who have reported sexual assault allegations against powerful men in places such as Uber, The Plaza Hotel, Capitol Hill, offices, and farms. These women prove that this situation goes far beyond Hollywood. Sexual assault is a disease and it occurs far too often. The #MeToo movement pulled back the curtains to reveal how widespread and serious this issue really is.

If the #MeToo movement has one message, it’s that we will not be silenced. Too long have we been encouraged to keep quiet. We have been pushed into a corner. We live in a constant state of fear and trauma. Now, we are taking back our power, our humanity, our self-esteem, and our self-worth. We are showing these predators that they can’t get away with this anymore. Their power can be taken away in a hot second when one woman reveals the truth of these so called “respectable” and “good” men.

“When you go through something as traumatic as sexual violence, there’s a way that you close up your protection the way you protect yourself it’s like your shrouded in shame; and the disclosure, not just a disclosure but then the subsequent having somebody else connect with you and say you’re not alone in that, it just frees you. It frees you from the shame. You don’t have to give the details because the details really don’t matter. If somebody is bold and stand up and tells their story and you’re not ready to do that and that’s not where you are in your journey. So just too simply say ‘me too’ is powerful but its soft. Me too can be a conversation starter or it can be the whole conversation,” Tarana Burke says.

It is pretty sweet irony that sexual assault survivors are chosen for this title, while a sexual predator (who had a recent temper tantrum about the Person of the Year title) is runner-up. This is a metaphor for how I feel this whole year has gone. Women taking their power back and standing up to a system infested with powerful, predatory men. We are smashing the patriarchy in every way and form, standing above the men who have stayed in power for far too long.

TIME’s Person of the Year issue is on newsstands now. Or you can check out this link to learn more about the women of the #MeToo movement. http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/