One wonders whether to call this a celebration or an embarrassment. In 2017, the TIME has put many women on its cover, those who suffers sexual harassment and assault. Following the viral campaign #Metoo, now the TIME magazine has taken these conversations, global. The cover has Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual on its cover as the collective TIME Person of the Year. It’s tragic that we are yet discussing harassment being commonplace, embedded in power, sitting in corner offices, and even in our face at home. It’s important that a magazine of the stature of TIME chose to put it on the front page. Hopefully this isn’t the end of the year, but the beginning of a movement that will multiply in the new year and many other years to come.

It has interviewed women from all spheres of the society who reported their experiences of harassment from entrepreneurs, casual workers, strawberry pickers to activists, hotel staff, housekeepers, journalists and more. The diversity of the areas of work, age, nationality, ethnicity had one thing common – that they had all been harassed in their lives and that they opened up about it.

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Actor Alyssa Milano who started the #Metoo movement also features in the magazine and she is quoted saying, “I woke up and there were 32,000 replies in 24 hours,” in the TIME interview. Milano re-posted the termed originally coined by activist Tarana Burke after the infamous Harvey Weinstein story broke. “And I thought, My God, what just happened? I think it’s opening the floodgates,” she added.

In almost every case, they described not only the vulgarity of the harassment itself—years of lewd comments, forced kisses, opportunistic gropes—but also the emotional and psychological fallout from those advances.

There is also a hospital worker in the TIME magazine feature. She said that she came to represent all those women who cannot speak up. She too has been harassed at some point in her life.

TIME calls these women the ‘Silence Breakers’. These are the women who brought the reality of their lives and their workplaces to the fore. They exposed what was going on in the ‘whisper networks’ of their areas of work. And it is these women who gave women all around the world the power to speak up against abuse whether on the digital space or otherwise.

“In almost every case, they described not only the vulgarity of the harassment itself—years of lewd comments, forced kisses, opportunistic gropes—but also the emotional and psychological fallout from those advances. Almost everybody described wrestling with a palpable sense of shame. Had she somehow asked for it? Could she have deflected it? Was she making a big deal out of nothing?” wrote TIME.

The magazine brought together all the survivors together to one platform. It proved how there is one thing that is common about women around the world—their stories of sexual harassment.

Picture credit- Chicago Tribune

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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