The Silence Breakers Should Have Been The 'Person Of The Year' Years Ago

The Silence Breakers Should Have Been The 'Person Of The Year' Years Ago

We owe it to the survivors and to everyone out there who hasn’t been the victim of sexual violence to make a change, now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than thrilled that the Silence Breakers were named TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year. When I woke up Wednesday morning and saw the video, I watched it three times all the way through because I was just so happy that these women were given a platform to speak out about what they went through.

I am so happy that people are finally being forced to listen.

Hearing them talk about how they were doubted and made to feel like the person who was in the wrong absolutely broke my heart. How can we live in a world where sexual violence is so carelessly written off?

Megyn Kelly’s quote struck me the hardest, “I thought maybe things could change for my daughter. I never thought things could change for me.”

It made me so sad to hear her say that. The way sexual assault victims have been treated in the past led her to believe that there was no way anything would change for her generation.

2017 has been filled with sexual assault victims coming forward and speaking out against what happened to them. Not only have celebrities come forward about sexual assault in Hollywood but the #MeToo movement allowed anyone with a social media handle to come forward and share their story. I was saddened to see so many of my friends sharing the hashtag.

Finally, the world is shining a light on the epidemic of sexual assault… if only we could have done this sooner. Maybe if sexual assault and harassment victims were believed years ago when they came forward then maybe we could have stopped some of the recent incidents from happening at all.

1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

99% of perpetrators of sexual violence will walk free.

Women ages 16-19 are four times more likely to be the victims of sexual violence.

1 in 6 women have survived an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

Those statistics are alarming and there are more where that came from. I haven’t even touched on the disturbing facts about sexual violence on college campuses (I highly recommend the documentary “The Hunting Ground” if you would like to learn more about the way sexual assault runs rampant on college campuses across the country).

As a woman, as a college student, as a friend of many people who posted #MeToo, I vow to do whatever I can to change those statistics I listed above. I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not worried about my safety, or about my sister’s safety, or about the safety of my friends and family.

I am beyond thrilled that the Silence Breakers were named TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year. I’m glad that we are finally shining a harsh light on the epidemic of sexual violence. I truly believe we are working towards changing those statistics. It won’t be smooth sailing but if we stand together we can make a change.

I wish the Silence Breakers were the Person of the Year years ago.

I wish I didn’t see so many #MeToo’s on my timeline that day. I wish the survivors of sexual violence were believed instead of being written off or treated like it was their fault.

It is years too late to save the Silence Breakers and to save some of my friends. We waited too long. Now we owe it to the survivors and to everyone out there who hasn’t been the victim of sexual violence to make a change. Now.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram @time

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Glimpse Of My Adventure In Germany & Poland

This why everyone should study abroad.


Two days ago, I arrived back in the States from a two-week study abroad trip to Germany and Poland. This trip was entitled Experiences in International Justice. On this trip, we studied the Holocaust and its consequences through the lens of criminal justice. This trip changed my life in so many ways.

Firs, I really connected with all the other students on my trip, so I know that I can find friendship and understanding in them because we shared this experience.

Secondly, I discovered a newfound respect for life and need to work towards a more just world through learning more about Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust. We visited three infamous concentration camps: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don't know if I can explain to you the emotions I experienced, but I would like to try since I think it is very important to share my experience with others. It was so surreal to be in a place where millions of innocent lives were taken away. Seeing where the many Jews, Roma, and many other groups slept, worked, suffered, and died really put my life into perspective.

It got me reflecting on what I have to be thankful for, and the problems that I feel are a too big deal to handle. Nothing I could ever go through can be compared to what those poor people went through. Because of this realization, I have become empowered to do what I can to help those who are suffering and who do not have anyone to stand up for them. I know I can't effect change all over the world, but I want to help others in any way I can, in my community and in my future career as a Forensic Psychologist, as well as with my friends and family.

I also have been inspired to be a torch-bearer for the memory of the victims as well as the Holocaust itself, so that something like it never happens again. Knowledge is power, and so being educated about what happened and how it happened can help us take a stand for what's right. Because not everyone has the privilege to travel to the concentration camps as I have so I have an obligation to share my experiences there with the world. I do not want the victims to disappear, from the Holocaust or any tragedy. From a criminal justice perspective, it was also very interesting to read more about the perpetrators, how normal people can be so violent and destroy fellow humans without remorse. I think it is beneficial to study them because it shows that anyone can become overwhelmed with power and let it go to their heads.

My trip to Germany and Poland was an amazing experience that expanded my mind and my world, inspired me to continue down my chosen career path, and gave me great friends. I hope that everyone has a chance to study abroad and always be curious and open-minded because it will do so much good for you.


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