Taylor Swift to Sexual Assault Survivors: 'Do Not Accept the Blame'

Taylor Swift was honored as TIME's Person of the Year as part of the Silence Breakers, a group of women and men who spoke out about their experiences with sexual assault and harassment and helped move the needle on a national conversation about the issue over the past year.

Speaking toTIME, Swift explained that she would tell others in a similar situation not to place any blame on themselves.

"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."

In August, Swift testified in court about a 2013 incident in which she says DJ David Mueller reached under her skirt and grabbed her behind at a meet-and-greet. After the incident, she reported Mueller to his radio station and he was fired. Two years later, he sued her for defamation, and Swift countersued and won a symbolic $1.

The singer's testimony was widely praised, with Swift holding nothing back as she took the stand.

"I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forego any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened," she explained. "This man hadn’t considered any formalities when he assaulted me, and his lawyer didn’t hold back on my mom—why should I be polite?"

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Over three months after the trial, Swift says Mueller has still not paid her the dollar.

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