— TIME (@TIME) December 6, 2017
Look at Time's Person of the Year cover and you'll see five women who are part of the silence-breakers movement — the ever-growing movement made up of countless #MeToo stories that sparked a cultural shift in the conversation around sexual harassment and assault in 2017. The cover features Ashley Judd, engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift, and Isabel Pascua, an immigrant from Mexico who chose not to use her real name. Inside the magazine, you'll find even more faces, some familiar and some you may not have known yet. But look a little closer at the bottom right corner of the cover and you'll see someone else — well, an arm belonging to someone else who's been cropped out of the photo. The inclusion of this arm was an intentional decision on Time's part, and what it represents is powerful.
The arm belongs to an anonymous young hospital worker from Texas who has experienced sexual assault but who's afraid to disclose her identity for fear of a negative impact on her family, according to Time. After her encounter, the woman made a sexual assault complaint anonymously. Her presence in the magazine symbolizes every woman (or human) who's struggling with an experience of sexual misconduct but fears talking about it for a number of reasons: whether the person is receiving threats from the assaulter in a position of power (a la Harvey Weinstein), fears victim-blaming, isn't sure if anyone will believe them, did try to speak up but was told to keep quiet . . . the list of possibilities goes on. "Her appearance is an act of solidarity, representing all those who are not yet able to come forward and reveal their identities," Time writes.
The time to listen to victims is now, and Time's 2017 Person of the Year issue proves the movement is only just beginning.