It’s official, Time Magazine just announced its 2017 Person of the Year. However, it isn’t just one person. It’s a group of people. One that is growing each news day. As chosen by the magazine, the most influential persons are “The Silence Breakers”—a group of women who came forward to tell their stories of sexual assault and harassment.
No doubt, you’ve heard all about the recent spate of predatory males being called out and held accountable. Some of the names and stories may have shocked you. Others may have had you saying, “Ummm, duhhhh.” But what you may not have realized is that this is not new news. Men—especially those who are wealthy or in power—have been doing this sort of thing for … well, forever!
A Short List of Famous Men—Recent and Past—Accused of Sexual Misconduct and Worse:
- Harvey Weinstein (studio head)
- Kevin Spacey (actor)
- Matt Lauer (news anchor)
- Charlie Rose (news anchor)
- Louis C.K. (comedian)
- Al Franken (U.S. Senator)
- Bryan Singer (director)
- Donald Trump (President)
- John Lassiter (studio executive)
- Danny Masterson (actor)
- Casey Affleck (actor)
- Michael Jackson (musician)
- Roman Polanski (director)
- R. Kelly (rapper)
- Dustin Hoffman (actor)
- Bill Clinton (former President)
- Kobe Bryant (athlete)
- George Bush (former President)
- Woody Allen (director)
- Mark Halperin (political news director)
- Clarence Thomas (Supreme Court Justice)
- James Toback (director)
- Ben Affleck (actor)
- Martin Lawrence (comedian)
- John Besh (celebrity chef)
Movie moguls, politicians, CEOs, journalists, the list of professions and titles goes on. Some of these cases were never proven. Others are still pending. A few were made to go away—via pay-offs or threats. However, it seems that the days of sweeping something under the rug are over thanks in part to the brave women who are stepping forward and demanding justice.
Time Magazine’s “Silence Breakers”
Time chose women from all walks of life to put on their cover and inside pages. They range from the well-known to the not-so-well-known—singer Taylor Swift, actresses Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan, and activist Tarana Burke are a few of the better-known Silence Breakers. Burke started the #MeToo movement more than a decade ago. She said she wanted to help young women—particularly those “of color from low wealth communities”—who were victims of sexual abuse and harassment. She never expected the movement to grow beyond aiding a small community of women. However, once the Harvey Weinstein revelations came to light, it was brought to the mainstream—and now—by actress Alyssa Milano.
The Women Scorned
One side note that hasn’t been addressed due to the severity of the events is that many of those accused are, or were, married at the time of their actions. Even if some of these alleged crimes were nothing more than simple flirts-gone-too-far, it shows a lack of respect for relationships and the sanctity of marriage. It also adds to the list of victims lying in the wake of sexual abuse and harassment. After all, finding out that your significant other is being unfaithful to you via the media is an embarrassing way for a person to catch a cheater.
As for the future, there will most definitely be more women coming forward. More heads will be put on the chopping block. Most of those heads deservedly so. A few of the accused will become victims themselves of false accusations. And the way we all go about our business will change. Or maybe not. Only time will tell.