2017 has been the year that women found their voice to say #MeToo. TIME Magazine has made a powerful statement by featuring the women who found strength to take down powerful men. These strong women have come out against some of the strongest businessmen and politicians in America. Today, we give a round of applause for all of those women who spoke out and told their stories, encouraging women all over the world to use their voices too.
All of the people interviewed for TIME’s article expressed their hesitation and fear for what could happen to their careers or their families once they came forward with their allegations. For some, the fear was even a threat of physical violence.
Here are just some of The Silence Breakers’ stories.
Tarana Burke: Burke, an activist, started the “Me Too” movement more than 10 years ago to help young women who have been sexually abused, assaulted, exploited or harassed.
Susan Fowler: Former Uber engineer. Fowler took a big risk last year when she went public with her story of sexual harrassment with Uber. She showed screenshots to human resources of messages where her supervisor “was trying to get her to have sex with him”.
Ashley Judd: This October, Judd went public about how Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her. She said back in 1997, Weinstein invited her to a hotel room, answered the door wearing just a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or if she wanted to watch him shower. Her claims against him helped set off an massive amount of sexual harassment allegations from other women in Hollywood.
Selma Blair: Blair said in a 1999 meeting with an independent film director, James Toback, he said he would like her to see his room at the hotel. She said in the room he asked her to strip down and asked her to have sex with him. When she said no, he blocked the door and forced her to watch him masturbate against his leg. She was hesitant to come forward after physically threatened by Toback.
“He said if I ever wronged him, he would have me kidnapped, have my eyes gauged out with a Bic pen and throw me into the Hudson River.” said Blair.
Taylor Swift: Swift told her story about a 2013 encounter when a DJ groped her during a meet-and-greet in Denver, Colorado. During a legal battle between the DJ David Mueller and Taylor Swift, her former security guard Greg Dent, who was present during the encounter, said DJ Mueller’s “hand went under her skirt.” Just this August, a judge threw out the lawsuit Mueller filed against Swift, which claimed Swift was personally responsible for his firing.
Sandra Pezqueda: A former dish-washer, filed a lawsuit against her supervisor at a resort in Southern California for sexual harassment that lasted for months. Upon the lawsuit, the supervisor then changed her schedule and cut her hours.
“Someone who is in the limelight is able to speak out more easily than people who are poor. The reality of being a woman is the same — the difference if the risk each woman must take,” Sandra told TIME magazine.
Alyssa Milano: In October Milano tweeted “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The tweet poured in over 65,000 responses full of emotional experiences from women, and men, all around the world.
Rose McGowan: The actress reached a supposed $1,000,000 settlement with Harvey Weinstein in 2007 after an incident in a hotel room. Then in 2016, she tweeted that she was raped by a studio head back in 2007, but wouldn’t identify who.
Blaise Godbe Lipman: The former actor, now filmmaker, accused his ex-agent Tyler Grasham of sexually assaulting him when he was 18. Grasham was fired and is still being investigated for Lipman’s allegations.
A woman whose face is hidden: TIME featured a woman who’s face is not in the cover photo to represent all of the women and men who haven’t come forward, yet.
These are all stories of strong women, and men, who came forward about being sexually harrassed. These people were made to feel bad about what happened to them, some were seen as a “buzzkill”. These people were made to believe “if you do come forward, it becomes your identity.”
Read the full piece by TIME here, including dozens of others who used this platform as a way to express themselves and make people realize that you can’t hide behind your fears forever. For the moment, the world has begun to listen.