Taylor Swift Has An Important Message For Sexual Assault Survivors

"Do not accept the blame."

Time magazine has announced its 2017 Person of the Year to be the "Silence Breakers" — those who have spoken out about sexual assault and harassment in and out of Hollywood in recent months, including Harvey Weinstein accusers Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, as well as #MeToo creator Tarana Burke.



Singer Taylor Swift is also featured in the issue, and on the cover. In August, Swift won a countersuit against former radio DJ David Mueller, whom she accused of groping her at a meet-and-greet in 2013. (Mueller sued her after losing his job due to the accusations — it was thrown out by the judge.) Although her suit was only for a single dollar, Swift vowed after her win to donate to organizations that help survivors of sexual assault.

Swift spoke to Time about her experience in an interview for the new issue, in which she explained why she chose to "forego any courtroom formalities" in answering questions about the incident during the trial in Denver earlier this year, during which she felt "angry" for how she and her mother and team had been questioned by Mueller's attorney.

"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?" she said. "I'm told it was the most amount of times the word 'ass' has ever been said in Colorado Federal Court."

Swift also gave advice to other survivors, addressing the disappointing truth that many will be blamed for what happened to them, or criticized for how long they took to report it.

"My advice is that you not blame yourself and do not accept the blame others will try to place on you," she said. "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."

It's a sentiment Swift already expressed during her own trial, when she told Mueller's attorney, "I'm not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault, because it isn't."

As for the many other people who have shared their stories since her trial, Swift called this moment in culture "important for awareness," adding, "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."

The singer also gave an update about what has happened since she won her case, explaining of Mueller, "To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself."

You can read Taylor Swift's entire interview with Time here, and see more from the cover story here.

Cover image via Instagram

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