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The Silence Breakers: the voices that launched a movement

Cover of Time magazine published on December 6th, BILLY & HELLS/AFP

On December 6th, the American magazine Time paid tribute to all the courageous and empowered women who have dared to break the silence around sexual harassment. The Silence Breakers are the Person of the Year 2017. For this edition, the magazine did not choose a single person but a movement, represented on the cover by the women who had the courage to raise their voices, share their stories and speak out about the experiences they had long endured: from Harvey Weinstein’s “coercive behaviors” to the frat-boy culture at Uber, to the continuous sexual harassment within the California state government. These inspiring women, and millions of others who have joined the movement, have unleashed one of the fastest cultural shifts in the last 50 years, provoking an unprecedented tidal wave: CEOs have been fired, icons have fallen from their pedestals and in some cases, criminal charges have been filed.

“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” outlines Edward Felsenthal, Editor in Chief of Time Magazine

#MeToo, #BalanceTonPorc, and #YoTambien have shone a light on cultures where sexual harassment has been viewed as acceptable for far too long. Women have not only had to endure physical aggressions and lewd comments, but also a sense of shame, of somehow believing it was their fault: “Did I ask for it?”, “Could I have done something more to stop it?”, “Am I over-reacting”, as well as fear of speaking out, of losing their jobs. These national initiatives launched on social networks have spread rapidly and caused a surge of media attention, that continues to grow.


If someone is bold and stands up and tells their story and you are not ready to do that (…) to just simply say #MeToo is powerful”, says Tarana Burke, Founder of Girls for Gender Equity and creator of the Me Too movement.

Discover the Silence Breakers' powerful stories here.