Taylor Swift is featured as one of the "Silence Breakers" in Time magazine's Person of the Year issue after she went to court in August to face off with a man who sexually assaulted her in 2013.
A jury found former DJ David Mueller liable of assault and battery for groping the "Look What You Made Me Do" singer during a meet-and-greet four years ago in Denver, Colorado. Mueller, who has denied the claims, filed a $3 million lawsuit against the singer in September 2015, claiming she cost him his job and future career opportunities. Swift countersued Mueller for $1, accusing him of assault and battery -- and won.
In an interview with Time, the GRAMMY winner admits that court wasn't easy for herself or her family, especially her mother, Andrea.
"When I testified, I had already been in court all week and had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team including my mother over inane details and ridiculous minutiae, accusing them, and me, of lying," she recalls. "My mom was so upset after her cross-examination, she was physically too ill to come to court the day I was on the stand. I was angry."
Swift continues. "In that moment, I decided to forego any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened. 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? I’m told it was the most amount of times the word “a**” has ever been said in Colorado Federal Court."
Upon taking the stand during the trial, the pop star took no punches from Mueller's lawyer, who at one point asked her if she felt guilty about Mueller losing his job. “I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault," she fiercely responded. "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."
The 27-year-old musician tells Time that during the trial, she received lots of support from her fans and even consulted with one of her famous friends. "Once it hit the news that I was in Denver dealing with this, there was an outpouring of support on social media and I have never appreciated it more," she notes. "I spoke to Kesha on the phone and it really helped to talk to someone who had been through the demoralizing court process."
As for how she feels months after her victory in court, Swift admits, "Going to court to confront this type of behavior is a lonely and draining experience, even when you win, even when you have the financial ability to defend yourself. Even though awareness is higher than ever about workplace sexual harassment, there are still so many people who feel victimized, afraid and silenced by their abusers and circumstances."
The singer also reveals that she's yet to receive what was owed to her. "When the jury found in my favor, the man who sexually assaulted me was court-ordered to give me a symbolic one dollar," she shares. "To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself."
For those who find themselves in a similar situation, Swift says, "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."
Here's more on Swift's sexual assault case: