“Silence Breakers” Are Collectively Time’s 2017 Person of the Year

The 2017 Time Person of the Year honor goes to 'Silence Breakers,' the women who spoke out about sexual assault and started a social movement.

“The 2017 Person of the Year is the ‘Silence Breakers,’ the voices that launched a movement,” announced Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal. “This is the fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades and it began by 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 reality is people don’t want to talk about this issue,” she said activist Tarana Burke, who started the hashtag almost ten years ago. “I think it had to have the light of pop culture shine on it before people would pay attention. In a way, I’m grateful for that.” The hashtag, although almost a decade old, was made popular this year by actress Alyssa Milano.

“We look at the degree to which this is really just the beginning, and how far will it go, how deep into the country, how long-lasting,” Felsenthal said. “The image you see partially on the cover is a woman we talked to, a hospital worker in the middle of the country who shared her story with us and some others but doesn’t feel like she could come forward without threatening her livelihood.”

President Donald Trump won the Person of the Year designation in 2016. This year, he tweeted that he “was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass.” However, Time Magazine disputed that claim, saying that he was “incorrect.”

Trump was, however, named the runner-up for the award this year. The number three consideration was Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has received media attention as of late for high-profile encounters with Trump, such as when the two met to release several UCLA basketball players arrested in China.