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'Time' Magazine Names Abuse 'Silence Breakers' as Person of the Year


This combination photo shows actresses listed in alphabetical order, top row from left, Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette, Jessica Barth, Cara Delevingne, Romola Garai, Judith Godreche, Heather Graham, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Lea Seydoux and Mira Sorvino, who have made allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. (AP Photo/File)

This is What’s Trending Today...

Time Magazine has named the “Silence Breakers” -- those who have publicly shared their stories of sexual abuse -- as its 2017 Person of the Year.

Since early October, numerous women have spoken out about sexual wrongdoing by powerful men in the fields of entertainment, news media, politics, business and sports.

Time praised those who have given “voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social media, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable.”

The magazine’s cover features Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Susan Fowler and others who say they have been sexually harassed.

The magazine made the announcement Wednesday morning in New York City on NBC’s “Today” show. Last week, the very same show’s longtime co-host Matt Lauer, was dismissed from his job. NBC said it acted after receiving a report that Lauer had sexually abused a coworker.

Women who spoke out against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and others helped form the #MeToo movement. Millions of victims of harassment and other sex abuse told their stories on social media sites.

The messages on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook began after actress and activist Alyssa Milano followed a suggestion from a friend on Facebook. She tweeted: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

The hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times in the following 48 hours.

Activist Tarana Burke created the #MeToo hashtag 10 years ago to spread information and understanding about sexual violence.

Milano and Burke appeared together Wednesday on the “Today” show. Burke said, “This is just the start. I’ve been saying from the beginning it’s not just a moment, it’s a movement.

“Now the work really begins.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Time’s 2015 Person of the Year, commented on the magazine's decision through a spokesman. She said this year’s winners should be thanked for “having the courage to break the silence on sexual assaults and for the worldwide discussion that they have launched.”

Time says U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were the second and third choices for its Person of the Year.

Many women have accused Trump, himself, of sexual harassment and assault. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Trump, the magazine’s 2016 Person of the Year, wrote on Twitter recently that Time told him he would “probably” be named again this year if he agreed to an interview and photo shoot. Trump said he refused.

Time has disputed Trump’s claims.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

entertainment - n. the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment.

voice - n. a wish, opinion, etc., that you express openly or publicly

whisper network - phrase. an unofficial information channel that women use to secretly warn each other about possibly dangerous men

feature - v. to have or include (someone or something) as an important part

harass - v. to bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way

assault - n. a violent physical attack

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