"Do not blame yourself and do not accept the blame others will try to place on you"
Taylor Swift has spoken out to offer support and advice to any of her fans that may also have been victims of sexual assault or harassment.
The singer was speaking to Time Magazine after being named one of their ‘People Of The Year 2018‘. For the stand she took in her court battle against a radio DJ who sued after she accused him of groping her, Swift was listed as one of ‘The Silence Breakers’ who blew the whistle on systemic sexual assault. She was honoured alongside Tarana Burke, Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Isabel Pascual, Terry Crews, Rose McGowan and more.
Asked about what message she’d like to give to her fans having learned from her ordeal, Swift replied: “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. 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.”
As well as hitting out against the culture of victim blaming, and said that it’s never too late to speak out if you’ve been abused.
“My advice is that you not blame yourself and do not accept the blame others will try to place on you,” she added. “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.”
Swift had accused 55-year-old former radio DJ David Mueller of groping her at a concert in 2013 when she claimed he reached up her skirt and grabbed her buttock in public. He lost his job as a result of the allegation, which he denied. Mueller sued her, before Swift countersued. In August, the trial’s eight-person jury unanimously found Mueller guilty of assault and battery.
“I want to thank Judge William J Martinez and the jury for their careful consideration, my attorneys Doug Baldridge, Danielle Foley, Jay Schaudies and Katie Wright for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault, and especially anyone who offered their support throughout this four-year ordeal and two-year long trial process,” said Swift in a statement after the trial.
“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organisations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”
Visit NHS Choices for help and support regarding sexual assault.