For the corresponding article, Swift – who also appeared on the cover alongside Harvey Weinstein victim Ashley Judd and others – gave her first interview since the singer was victorious in court against a lawsuit filed by a former radio DJ David Mueller, who groped Swift during a 2003 photo op and was subsequently fired after the incident.
Not only did the judge agree to Swift dismiss from the DJ’s civil suit, the jury also awarded Swift her countersuit against the DJ: A symbolic $1, which the singer revealed to Time she has yet to receive.
“I think that this moment is important for awareness, for how parents are talking to their children, and how victims are processing their trauma, whether it be new or old. The brave women and men who have come forward this year have all moved the needle in terms of letting people know that this abuse of power shouldn’t be tolerated,” Swift said.
“Going to court to confront this type of behavior is a lonely and draining experience, even when you win, even when you have the financial ability to defend yourself. Even though awareness is higher than ever about workplace sexual harassment, there are still so many people who feel victimized, afraid and silenced by their abusers and circumstances. When the jury found in my favor, the man who sexually assaulted me was court-ordered to give me a symbolic $1. To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself.”
In the Time interview, Swift recounts being groped by Mueller during the meet-and-greet and reporting the incident to his radio station. “I figured that if he would be brazen enough to assault me under these risky circumstances and high stakes, imagine what he might do to a vulnerable, young artist if given the chance,” Swift said.
Swift also discussed the trial – “I’m told it was the most amount of times the word ‘ass’ has ever been said in Colorado Federal Court” – and how the online reaction to the lawsuit changed in its two-year lead-up to trial.
“People have been largely very supportive of my story since the trial began in August, but before that, I spent two years reading headlines referring to it as ‘The Taylor Swift Butt Grab Case’ with internet trolls making a joke about what happened to me. The details were all skewed, as they often are,” Swift said. “Once it hit the news that I was in Denver dealing with this, there was an outpouring of support on social media and I have never appreciated it more.”
Swift also offered advice to her fans if they are sexually assaulted, “My advice is that you not blame yourself and do not accept the blame others will try to place on you. You should not be blamed for waiting 15 minutes or 15 days or 15 years to report sexual assault or harassment, or for the outcome of what happens to a person after he or she makes the choice to sexually harass or assault you.”
Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said of the magazine’s “Silence Breakers” in a statement, “The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover … along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s. Social media acted as a powerful accelerant; the hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries … The roots of Time‘s annual franchise—singling out the person or persons who most influenced the events of the year—lie in the so-called great man theory of history, a phrasing that sounds particularly anachronistic at this moment. But the idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year… For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, The Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year.”