Time just named its Person of the Year for 2017, and rather than highlight one particular person, the magazine championed all of those who have come forward about sexual assault and sexual harassment claims against the now-fired Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and other prominent men in the spotlight. Dubbed “The Silence Breakers” by the magazine, those highlighted in Time are actors, singers, activists, senators, hospital workers and beyond — and among the cover stars is the one and only Taylor Swift.
In August, Swift testified in court after being sued by a Colorado DJ she said sexually assaulted her in 2013. Swift was taking a photo with now-fired DJ, David Mueller, when he reached under her skirt and grabbed her bottom. At the time, Swift reported this violation and Mueller’s employer promptly fired him. Mueller then saw fit to sue Swift, which she powerfully counter-sued with just $1.
For the first time since the trial, which Swift won, the singer detailed what she endured to TIME, revealing that she leaned on Kesha — another musician who very publicly endured a trial stemming from sexual assault, which began in October 2014 — through the trial. “I spoke to [her] on the phone and It really helped to talk to someone who had been through the demoralizing court process,” Swift said.
Time‘s Eliana Dockterman asked Swift how she felt while testifying, which resulted in a haunting description of the emotional toll. “When I testified, I had already been in court all week and had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team including my mother over inane details and ridiculous minutiae, accusing them, and me, of lying,” Swift said. “My mom was so upset after her cross-examination, she was physically too ill to come to court the day I was on the stand.
“I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forego any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened. This man hadn’t considered any formalities when he assaulted me, and his lawyer didn’t hold back on my mom — why should I be polite? I’m told it was the most amount of times the word “ass” has ever been said in Colorado Federal Court.”
To her fans — and anyone experiencing various forms of assault — Swift gave this advice: “I would tell people who find themselves in this situation that there is a great deal of blame placed on the victims in cases of sexual harassment and assault. You could be blamed for the fact that it happened, for reporting it and blamed for how you reacted. You might be made to feel like you’re overreacting, because society has made this stuff seem so casual. My advice is that you not blame yourself and do not accept the blame others will try to place on you.”
She also advised that “going to court to confront this type of behavior is a lonely and draining experience,” no matter if you win or have the financial ability to defend yourself. As for the symbolic $1 Swift won, Mueller has yet to pay the singer — which she suggests holds almost more significance than the money.
“I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself.”
To read the full piece, click here.