"Please, let it be that my daughter never has to go through anything like this." - Alyssa Milano
TIME Magazine's Person of the Year has been a traditional list that marks the most influential people who have had an overall impact on the world.
So who is TIME's Person of the Year? Say hello to The Silence Breakers who created an uproar and spread awareness of the vile disease known as sexual harassment.
The phrase #MeToo was first used almost a decade ago by social activist Tarana Burke. When a screenshot of this was sent to Alyssa Milano by a friend, the actress immediately tweeted the same and said, "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet."
With this, the #MeToo hashtag came into place and women from all over the world had their voice heard.
"It’s affected me on a cellular level to hear all these stories. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I have not stopped crying. I look at my daughter and think, Please, let this be worth it. Please, let it be that my daughter never has to go through anything like this," Alyssa told TIME.
Taylor Swift had complained about Denver radio DJ David Mueller for grabbing her ass during an event which led to Mueller being fired. When David sued Swift for millions, Taylor countersued him for $1.
During the trial, Mueller's lawyer tried to make Taylor feel responsible for his firing, the singer gave it right back saying, "I'm not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault. I'm being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions. Not mine."
"When I testified, I had already had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team, including my mother … I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forgo any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened. This man hadn’t considered any formalities when he assaulted me … Why should I be polite? I’m told it was the most amount of times the word ass has ever been said in Colorado federal court," Taylor revealed.
Rose McGowan was amongst the women who spoke against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in a revealing piece by New York Times which exposed Weinstein's sexual harassment pleas from over the years.
"The number of people sharing their stories with me is so intense, especially since all of this is incredibly triggering for me as well. People forget a lot that there’s a human behind this, someone who is very hurt. But that’s O.K. It fuels my fire. They really f*****d with the wrong person," Rose stated.
Ashley Judd too revealed how she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein when she was just 29.
"We need to formalize the whisper network. It’s an ingenious way that we’ve tried to keep ourselves safe. All those voices can be amplified. That’s my advice to women. That and if something feels wrong, it is wrong—and it’s wrong by my definition and not necessarily someone else’s," Ashley said.
Tarana Burke is the creator of the Me Too movement (2006) and has helped survivors of sexual harassment.
"Sexual harassment does bring shame. And I think it’s really powerful that this transfer is happening, that these women are able not just to share their shame but to put the shame where it belongs: on the perpetrator," Tarana stated.
Actor Terry Crews bravely came out and spoke about how agent Adam Venit and William Morris Endeavor assaulted him in front of his wife.
"People were saying, ‘You should have beaten him up.’ I’m like, Why is nobody questioning him? Nobody questions the predator. You know why? Because they just expect it. And I expect it. And I just said, ‘No more.’ Why are you questioning the victim here? Let’s flip it. Let’s talk about what the predator is doing," Terry said.
TV host Megyn Kelly hit back at anchor Bill O'Reilly as he stated that no one had complained about his 'behaviour'. Megyn statted that she had infact spoken about being sexually harassed by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes back in 2016.
"I always thought maybe things could change for my daughter. I never thought things could change for me. Never. I believed the system was stacked against women, and the smart ones would understand how to navigate it ... I’m starting to see it so differently. What if we did complain? What if we didn’t whine, but insisted that those around us did better?" Kelly stated.
Many women have accused director James Toback of sexual assault and he has openly denied all of them. Countering him is actress Selma Blair who opened up about her encounter with the director.
"I decided to go on the record when I saw his denial. He called the women liars. But their stories were so similar to mine, and they were such credible women. There was no agenda other than they wanted to share this story, be free of this story. And in a magazine interview, he called the people who said this about him ‘c***s’ and ‘c*********s.’ That was just wrong. And I wanted to give a face to these now more than 300 women who have come out."
Adama Iwu along with 147 women signed an open letter calling out sexual harassment in California's capital which led to a state-senate investigation.
"Young women told me about the same men who harassed me years ago. And all I did was participate in the whisper network: ‘Here’s what you can wear,’ ‘Here’s where you can go,’ ‘Here’s who to avoid.’ But you have to address it head on and as a group. It’s hard to call 147 women liars. We can’t all be crazy. We can’t all be sluts," Iwu stated.
Susan Fowler went VIRAL for her blog on facing sexual harassment while working for a taxi service company. Her revelations led to the ousting of the CEO and more than 20 employees.
"When other women spoke out, they were retaliated against. So there were certain things that I thought I could avoid: 'I'm not going to sue because they'll make me sign a nondisclosure agreement. I'm not going to do press right afterward because they'll say I’m doing it for attention. I can’t have any emotion in my blog. I have to be very, very detached.' And I had to make sure that every single thing that I included in there had extensive physical documentation, so it couldn’t be 'he said, she said.' And that's what I did," Susan revealed.
The Plaza Hotel Plaintiffs include 7 women - Veronica Owusu, Gabrielle Eubank, Crystal Washington, Dana Lewis, Paige Rodriguez, Sergeline Bernadeau and Kristina Antonova who filed a case against the hotel for being ignorant to the sexual harassment incidents.
"I am a single mother. I have an 11-year-old daughter, and she’s depending on me. My entire life revolves around her. I wasn’t really left with the option of leaving. I’m not left with the option of giving up. I want to show her that it’s O.K. to stand up for yourself. If you keep fighting, eventually you’ll see the sun on the other side," Dana Lewis who still works at the hotel said.
Sandra Muller from France trended the hashtag #BalanceTonPorc (Expose Your Pig) which inspired women to protest against sexual harassment openly.
"France is a country of love, but there is love and love, you know? There are ways to approach a woman, and if it’s done with respect, it’s O.K. Without respect, it’s not good. Now if men want your love, they have to ask themselves how to be, how to approach a woman. They are scared. We must restart all relationships from the beginning. We have to cleanse society to find a better way. I’m sure the road will be long and difficult, but it will be positive in the end," Sandra stated.
Celeste Kidd and Jessica Cantlon along with 6 professors from the University of Rochester filed complaints with the university on sexual harassment.
"If they couldn’t stop us from talking, they were going to stop everybody from listening. The administration went into our emails to try to find pieces of material that they could use to embarrass us or try to make other faculty members angry with us. But eight of us linked arms and continued to pursue the complaint. I think working together was powerful. It was hard to silence all of us," Jessica stated.
Sandra Pezqueda had filed a case against her supervisor at her workplace after he tried to pursue her for months. On refusal, the man changed her work 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 is the risk each woman must take," Sandra said.
Juana Melara has been victimised as a helping lady when hotel guests propositioned as well as exposed themselves at the hotel she used to work in.
"One time when I was cleaning, a guest asked me if I knew how to massage. I said, ‘No, I don’t even do it to my husband.’ The way he was looking at me wasn’t friendly. I rushed to finish the room as fast as I could and get out of there. It’s crazy that people think that if they pay for the room, they are paying for sexual service, " Juana said.
Lindsey Reynolds quit her job at a restaurant and complained about their practice of sexism.
"After I sent that email, I burst into tears and felt sick to my stomach and was shaking. I was nobody. I’m just a person from a small town in Texas. I have no money, no power, no social standing. And they have more power and money than I will ever have. I felt extremely vulnerable and scared. Then I heard from women I had never met—they worked as line cooks while I worked in corporate—who had experienced the same toxic culture," Lindsey Reynolds said.
After the revelation of the Harvey Weinstein sexual scandal, Isabel Pascual spoke out in defense of and became the voice of reason for her fellow agricultural workers.
"I was afraid. When the man was harassing me, he threatened to harm my children and me—that’s why I kept quiet. I felt desperate. I cried and cried. But, thank God, my friends in the fields support me. So I said, Enough. I lost the fear. It doesn’t matter if they criticize me. I can support other people who are going through the same thing," Pascual said.