Earlier this week, we joked that Donald Trump, while pleased with making the shortlist for Time’s Person Of The Year, would probably be taken aback at being in the company of the Dreamers, Colin Kaepernick, and maybe the only other person in the world as volatile as he is. Given the president’s history, he probably won’t be thrilled to learn that the real winners are the silence breakers, or people who have spoken out against sexual assault. (Among other reasons, he can’t count himself among them just for razzing Matt Lauer on Twitter, given that he recently endorsed a pedophile.)
Time’s in-depth, expansive profile acknowledges those “who have broken their silence,” who “span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe. They might labor in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.” This group comprises more than just celebrities like Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Selma Blair, and Terry Crews, who have been very vocal in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations (and in some cases, led the charge). Tarana Burke, the activist who started the #MeToo movement long before the advent of hashtags, is prominently featured. And Burke urges everyone to consider “people of different class and race and gender” when thinking of those most vulnerable.
Accordingly, the magazine spoke with a wide range of people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted—including agents and hotel housekeepers, food service workers and food blog editors, directors and former Fox News contributors—to demonstrate how pervasive the problem is. The culture that enables and protects predators extends well beyond Hollywood and even Washington D.C. (though the publication did speak to some of Trump’s accusers), and it’s not just the world’s most influential men who actively participate in it. Having even a modicum of power is enough to embolden anyone who would take advantage of employees and colleagues.
In addition to providing a timeline of the recent groundswell of support, Time’s Person Of The Year profile also has a mini-history lesson on sexual harassment, and how Anita Hill forced that into the national conversation. There are also thoughts on how to keep the momentum going, as well as the repercussions for abusers: “...There’s a great deal at stake in how we assess these new boundaries—for women and men together. We can and should police criminal acts and discourage inappropriate, destructive behavior.” It’s a long and worthwhile read, which you can find here, along with interviews with Crews and more.