Who are the Silence Breakers on Time’s cover?

A profile of the brave women who spoke up

Image Credit: AP


The cover of the magazine’s Person of the Year edition as “The Silence Breakers,” those who have shared their stories about sexual assault and harassment. The magazine’s cover features Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Susan Fowler and others who say they have been harassed.

Ashley Judd

In October, Hollywood actress Judd went public about how Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her. In one situation in 1997, she said Weinstein invited her to a hotel room, greeted her wearing a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage. Her claims helped set off an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations.

Susan Fowler

The former Uber engineer took a big risk last February when she went public with her story of mistreatment at ride-hailing company Uber. In a blog post, Fowler said she showed screenshots of chat messages in which her direct supervisor “was trying to get me to have sex with him” to human resources. The response to her post shifted the balance of power in male-dominated Silicon Valley.

Taylor Swift

Swift came forward about a 2013 encounter, saying a Denver DJ groped her during a meet-and-greet. During a legal battle between the DJ David Mueller and Swift, Swift’s former security guard Greg Dent, who was present during the encounter said Mueller’s “hand went under her skirt.” In August, a judge threw out the lawsuit filed against Swift by Mueller.

Adama Iwu

A lobbyist for Visa, Iwu said she was groped in front of colleagues. She organised an open letter signed by 147 women to call out sexual harassment in California’s state politics. The letter launched an unprecedented state-senate investigation.

The elbow

On the lower right-hand corner of the cover, there’s simply an arm, cropped at the shoulder. It belongs to an anonymous young hospital worker from Texas — a sexual harassment victim who fears that disclosing her identity would have a negative impact on her family. She is faceless on the cover and remains nameless inside Time’s red borders, but her appearance is an act of solidarity, representing all those who are not yet able to come forward and reveal their identities.

Isabel Pascual

Pascaul, a strawberry picker, spoke out in a march in Los Angeles against being stalked and harassed, in order to give voice to her fellow agricultural workers. Her name was changed to protect her children and herself from potential harm.

Fact Box

Ashley Judd

In October, Judd went public about how Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her. In one situation in 1997, she said Weinstein invited her to a hotel room, greeted her wearing a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or if she would watch him shower. Her claims against the Hollywood mogul helped set off an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations.

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