‘I Was Angry.’ Taylor Swift on What Powered Her Sexual Assault Testimony

‘I Was Angry.’ Taylor Swift on What Powered Her Sexual Assault Testimony:


Before the Harvey Weinstein allegations broke, and before #MeToo swept the Internet, Taylor Swift testified in court on Aug. 10 about being assaulted in a room full of people. Swift, who TIME recognized as one of the Silence Breakers who inspired women to speak out about harassment in this year’s Person of the Year issue, granted TIME her first interview since the trial.

In 2013, the singer-songwriter took a photo with a Colorado radio DJ after an interview. During that photo, Swift says, DJ David Mueller reached under her skirt and grabbed her rear end. Swift privately reported the incident to the station at which Mueller worked, and he was fired. Mueller then sued Swift for defamation; she countersued for a symbolic $1—and won.

Swift refused to be bullied on the stand. Her straightforward testimony was lauded by many for its fierceness. When asked why the pictures taken during the assault didn’t show the front of her skirt wrinkled as evidence of any wrongdoing, she said simply, “Because my ass is located at the back of my body.” When asked if she felt guilty about Mueller losing his job, she said, “I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault. Here we are years later, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are the product of his decisions—not mine.”

Like many of the women interviewed for the 2017 Person of the Year issue, Swift would not accept blame for the abuse she experienced. Her clear-eyed testimony marked one of several major milestones in the conversation around sexual harassment this year. Swift responded to questions about her experience from TIME in writing.

Keep reading