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#MeToo Movement’s “Silence Breakers” Named TIME Magazine Person of the Year

The transformational movement founded by Tarana Burke ten years ago receives magazine’s highest honor for encouraging millions to speak out about sexual violence and harassment

NEW YORK---Today, TIME Magazine named the “Silence Breakers,” those who spoke out against sexual violence and harassment as part of the viral #MeToo Movement, as its Person of the Year. This honor is given annually to the person or people who have most influenced the news during the past year. Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement released the following statement this morning:

“For too long, survivors of sexual assault and harassment have been in the shadows. We have been afraid to speak up, to say ‘Me Too’ and seek accountability. For many, the consequences of doing so have been devastating,” said Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement.

“Today’s announcement is bittersweet and so much has happened. A movement of survivors has been named the Person of the Year at a time when the President jokes about sexual assault in graphic detail and an unrepentant predator is the GOP’s nominee for Congress in Alabama.

“Men who have been lionized in Hollywood are having to answer for their actions, but what of our most vulnerable communities? In our case, this isn’t a reality show. These are our lives and the Weinsteins have little to do with our wellness. Today’s announcement should be an opportunity to ask ourselves: are we really committed to the hard work of ending sexual violence?

“What about young people having to break bread with their abuser at a family gathering year after year, in silence and solitude?

“What about women of color and transgender people, who struggle to be believed by friends, families, and those in power?

“What about those regularly assaulted by officers of the law, on our streets and in our jails--- do they get to say #MeToo as well? Will we listen when they do?

“We need a complete cultural transformation if we are to eradicate sexual assault in our lifetimes. It means we must build our families differently, engage our communities and confront some of our long-held assumptions about ourselves. Today’s announcement is an opportunity for all of us to take a hard look in the mirror and answer the question:

“When you hear #MeToo, will you stand up to say #NoMore?

“Let’s get to work.”

For more information about the #MeToo Movement or to submit an interview request for Tarana Burke, visit www.metoomvmt.org or contact press@metoomvmt.org

In 2006, Tarana Burke founded the me too. movement to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Using the idea of “empowerment through empathy,” the me too. movement was ultimately created to ensure survivors know they're not alone in their journey.

The me too. movement has built a community of survivors from all walks of life. By bringing vital conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream, we're helping to de-stigmatize survivors by highlighting the breadth and impact sexual violence has on thousands of women, and we’re helping those who need it to find entry points to healing. Ultimately, with survivors at the forefront of this movement, we're aiding the fight to end sexual violence. We want to uplift radical community healing as a social justice issue and are committed to disrupting all systems that allow sexual violence to flourish.