As part of Time Magazine’s “People of the Year” feature on “silence breakers” of sexual assault, Taylor Swift has spoken about her court battle against former Denver DJ David Mueller — whom she accused of groping her during a 2013 meet-and-greet —and spoken in support of victims of sexual harassment and assault. Swift was honored alongside Rose McGowan, Tarana Burke, Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Isabel Pascual, Terry Crews and others.
“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,” she said. “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. 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.”
Looking forward, she said, “I think that this moment is important for awareness, for how parents are talking to their children, and how victims are processing their trauma, whether it be new or old. 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 trial revolved around an incident during a 2013 meet-and-greet after a Denver concert, where Swift alleged that Mueller, then a DJ for local radio station KYGO, groped her buttocks while they were taking a photo together. Mueller denied the claim and hit Swift and her team with the lawsuit, maintaining that Swift’s accusation caused him to be terminated and ruined his career. U.S. District Judge William Martinez ruled that because Swift did not appear to set out to get Mueller fired, she could not be held liable.
Speaking of the trial, Swift told Time, “People have been largely very supportive of my story since the trial began in August, but before that, I spent two years reading headlines referring to it as ‘The Taylor Swift Butt Grab Case’ with internet trolls making a joke about what happened to me. The details were all skewed, as they often are. Most people thought I was suing him. There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when I was named as the defendant.
She also singled out her support from Kesha, who has been embroiled in a lawsuit against former mentor/collaborator Dr. Luke in which she accuses him of sexual assault, and to whom Swift donated $250,000 to help with legal costs.
“I spoke to Kesha on the phone and it really helped to talk to someone who had been through the demoralizing court process,” Swift said.
Also published Wednesday, Swift wrote a poem as part of a photo feature in the British edition of Vogue, part of which loosely touches on a similar theme:
“Let go of the ones who hurt you
Let go of the ones you outgrow
Let go of the words they hurl your way
as you’re walking out the door
The only thing cut and dry
In this hedge-maze life
Is the fact that their words will cut
but your tears will dry”