The Silence Breakers Encourage Others to Raise Their Voices

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Nicole Braun, Opinion Editor

Time magazine broke away from its typical mold this year when it chose its person, or, rather, People of the Year. The predictability of the “Person of the Year” was shattered when five women (and an elbow) graced the cover of the prestigious magazine, bearing the exceedingly appropriate title, “The Silence Breakers”.

 

The women featured on the cover are actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, Visa lobbyist and co-founder of the We Said Enough campaign Adama Iwu, and Mexican agricultural worker Isabel Pascual. Additionally, that elbow is not just someone cropped out of the picture, it is representative of every woman and man who has reported their abuse anonymously. The article contains women and men- from actors to dishwashers and everyone in between- recounting stories of their abuse.

 

This past year has been explosive in tearing down the looming predatorial figures that prowled their respective industries, looking for prey. Enormous spotlights have been cast on, more recently, celebrities such as Matt Lauer, former host of the Today Show, as well as chef and media personality Mario Batali. Regarding the allegations that have come out in recent months, Adama Iwu was quoted in the article saying that she thinks “[women are] all just really sick of it. I’m furious about it. And I think now I get to be furious and get to stay furious.”

 

The women and men featured in the story stress the importance of speaking out. However, they also acknowledge the reasons as to why some victims choose to stay silent, managing to do so without assigning shame to the silent victims. Some people simply do not want their “complaint becom[ing their] identity,” as it did for Susan Fowler, who was the “whistleblower” that exposed stories of sexual assault committed by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who has since resigned from the billion dollar company.

 

Taylor Swift can also add whistleblower to her incredibly long list of achievements. She infamously countersued David Mueller, a Denver radio DJ, for a symbolic $1 after he harassed her and then had the nerve to sue her for millions after she reported him. Her complaint resulted in him being fired and his reputation being torn to shreds. She won the case and her single dollar bill.

 

Courageous stories like Swift’s inspired a tidal wave of women to come forth with their own heartbreaking stories, that would become messages of strength. “Actors and writers and journalists and dishwashers and fruit pickers alike: they’d had enough. What had manifested as shame exploded into outrage. Fear became fury.”

 

In what can almost be considered comically contradictory, the story about President Donald Trump, runner up for “Person of the Year” and a man with several sexual assault allegations against him, immediately follows the immensely powerful report on “the voices that launched a movement.”

 

The most prevalent theme in the article is that the women leading the movement need to act now, while they have the world’s attention. Rose McGowan stated that, “[Women are] running out of time. [They] don’t have time to play nice.” The time to act is now as everyday, brave women and men step forward and embrace the title of whistleblower as “a badge of honor.” Time Magazine’s bold move to make “The Silence Breakers” the “People of the Year” has sparked an international conversation that not only sheds light on the attackers, but the courage of those who are raising their voices.