Who Are “The Silence Breakers”? TIME’s Person Of The Year Are The People Who Spoke Out Against Sexual Harassment

Ad failed to load

In 2016, President Donald Trump was named TIME's Person of the Year, an accolade given to the person or group who most influenced the news in the past year. This year though, Trump landed at number two on the list — and the group in the top spot proves that a huge shift has taken place for the better over the past twelve months. Who are "The Silence Breakers"? TIME's Person of the Year isn't actually one person, but a collective of individuals at the forefront of the #MeToo movement. Together, they've spoken out and pushed back against widespread sexual harassment, finally bringing the issue into the spotlight where it should have been long ago.

If there's one thing that the #MeToo movement has made abundantly clear this year, it's that nearly every woman has been affected in some way by sexual harassment or assault — as well as the fact that it's also not just women who have been victimized. And while the fight against sexual harassment is nothing new, the fact that victims' voices are actually starting to be heard — and that the individuals responsible are actually starting to face consequences — is monumental.

Ad failed to load

One of the obvious major turning points took place in October, when prominent actresses like Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd spoke openly and on the record about being sexual harassed or assaulted by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Yet as much as the controversy was about Weinstein's actions, it was also very clearly about much more than that, and it ignited a much bigger movement that gave women a chance to have their voices heard, and to make it clear that they weren't about to back down.

As the TIME cover story explains though, the Silence Breakers aren't just the celebrities who spoke up, but a group made up of "dozens of people representing at least as many industries" who had mustered the courage to speak up about their own experiences. And together, those individuals ultimately represent all the marginalized people who have tried to do the same.

Ad failed to load

As a result, TIME's profile includes a variety of people, from well-known public figures to an anonymous hospital worker. In addition to McGowan and Judd, Taylor Swift made the list for her impressive and unapologetic courtroom testimony earlier this year against a radio DJ who was fired after Swift said he groped her. Actress Alyssa Milano also made the list, after her tweet urging people to publicly post their sexual harassment stories using the hashtag #MeToo resulted in millions of responses.

But there were many others, too, like activist Tarana Burke, who actually started the Me Too movement in 2006; Isabel Pascual, a 42-year-old strawberry picker who spoke out at a march in Los Angeles about the prevalence of sexual harassment against women in the agricultural industry; and a group of seven female employees who filed a law suit against the Plaza Hotel in New York City for "normalizing and trivializing sexual assault" in the workplace. And it wasn't just women: actor Terry Crews and director Blaise Godbe Lipman, both of whom have said publicly that they were sexually assaulted by Hollywood agents.

Ad failed to load

TIME's recognition of the Silence Breakers reinforces what seems to already becoming crystal clear: that we may have finally reached a point where the abuse of male power in the workplace will no longer be tolerated. And it also shows how much has changed in a relatively short period of time. While last year, Trump was patting himself on the back for being chosen as Person of the Year, this year, the collective public outrage following his infamous "grab 'em by the p*ssy" comment (and, well, his election win in general) was highlighted as having helped fuel the Silence Breakers' actions.

What's more is that TIME cover story also discussed the 20 women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment, including former The Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, who filed a defamation suit against Trump in January after he called her a liar. And while Trump hasn't yet faced repercussions for his alleged actions the way other prominent men like Weinstein, Today show host Matt Lauer, and comedian Louis C.K. have, it is at least hopefully indicative that those women will have their chance to be properly heard, too.

Ad failed to load

Yet, ahead of the TIME cover story announcement Wednesday, Trump had actually suggested on Twitter that the reason he wasn't Person of the Year this year was not because he wasn't deserving, but because he had turned it down. Claiming that the magazine had told him he would "probably" be given the top spot, the president wrote, "I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!"

TIME refuted Trump's claim though, and said they don't discuss or reveal the Person of the Year pick ahead of time. That rebuttal was likely lost on Trump, but regardless, the magazine's actual choice has definitely made a big impact — not only because it celebrates people who are totally deserving, but because it reflects the strength of a movement that is hopefully only beginning. And given how far #MeToo has come in 2017, it seems that there is a lot to be optimistic about in the year ahead, too.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills