For 91 years, TIME magazine has selected an individual or group of people who the magazine’s editors believe have most influenced news and events of the past year, “for good or ill.”
When I saw the TIME person of the year, my first, and reigning thought was “Bravo.”
The 2017 Person of the Year is The Silence Breakers: The Voices That Launched a Movement. Edward Felsenthal, TIME editor-in-chief, noted on the “Today” show that this is “the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women and some men, too, who came forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment and assault.”
The magazine’s coverage of the issue touches many facets, including the #MeToo movement, in which tens of thousands of women and men didn’t necessarily share their stories of harassment or abuse, but showed how prevalent it really is.
When actor Alyssa Milano tweeted “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” she wrote, and then went to sleep. She woke up the next day to find that more than 30,000 people had used #MeToo,” the article said. (The phrase had been used for more than a decade before Milano’s tweet, TIME notes.)
We live in a society of victim blamers. I see it absolutely everywhere.
Young girls are brought up to believe that harassment is OK. Boys will be boys. We’ve all been told to ignore it, because it’s a man’s world, honey.
We are taught to victimize ourselves. When we are harassed, we are ashamed. People ask what we did to give a man the impression his advances were welcome. Never mind if you were minding your own business, not engaging at all, or even flat out refusing advances,
I recall reading about a University of Kansas student’s art installation “What Were You Wearing” that displays 18 outfits hanging next to 18 rape survivors’ stories about what they had on when they were attacked. Perhaps the most gut-wrenching in the photo is a small, child-sized pink dress.
Most people can get on board in being against assaulting children, but when the accuser is a woman, “she just wants attention.”
She is lying. She wanted it. Just look at what she was wearing. She’s asking for it. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. She’s a slut. She’s . . . the list goes on and on.
But think about it. I mean, really think about it.
When #MeToo sprung up, I started asking people about their own experiences. I watched as my social media feeds filled with friends and family members’ own hashtags.
Then it struck me that I likely don’t know a woman who couldn’t type #MeToo, whether they cared to share it or not.
Ask your wife, mother, sisters, friends — you’ll see. And I hope whether you’ve felt assaulted or not, you’ll stand in solidarity with those around you who have.
As TIME notes:
“This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist.
They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose. They’ve had it with the code of going along to get along. They’ve had it with men who use their power to take what they want from women.”
And, like it or not, this is just the beginning.