Taylor Swift has created quite a bit of media buzz over the past few weeks. The 27-year-old singer-songwriter recently released two singles “Look What You Made Me Do” and “ … Ready For It?” as well as a controversial music video for the first single. Her recently released music, however, seems to be distracting fans and the media from another important aspect in Swift’s life.
While Swift had originally hoped to keep the incident private, she publicly sued David Mueller, a former radio host, for sexually assaulting her in 2013. Swift retaliated to a lawsuit Mueller filed in 2015 after being fired from his position at the radio station, according to The New York Times.
She won the case and “a Denver jury found fully in pop singer Taylor Swift’s favor … delivering a unanimous verdict in a trial over whether she was groped by a former radio host during a Denver meet-and-greet,” according to NPR.
This decision to take the case on publicly for Swift and her family was presumably not an easy one. Swift, according to The New York Times, testified at the trial and had to speak candidly and specifically about the incident, claiming, “He grabbed my bare ass.” It would be difficult for any sexual assault victim to speak up about an incident, nonetheless a high-profile female musician who is known for receiving brutal criticism.
Although many individuals critiqued Swift’s trial and participated in the inhumane act of victim-shaming her, she also received well-deserved praise for her courage. The New York Times noted that, “Ms. Swift’s moment on the stand [was] a potent public example of how to persevere in a fraught situation, and perhaps a way to shift the national conversation around sexual assault.”
It is unsettling that many individuals viewed Mueller groping Swift as a minor offense, or that it was somehow Swift’s fault. Swift was not only victim-blamed by the media—she had to endure during the trial her opposition examining the way her skirt was positioned in a picture of her and Mueller during the incident, according to Elephant Journal.
Furthermore, when asked if Mueller had groped her more than once, Swift responded in a confident and sarcastic fashion, “Other than grabbing my ass against my will, underneath my skirt, and refusing to let go, he did not otherwise touch me inappropriately.”
It was clear that Swift’s intention in suing Mueller was to encourage other victims and women to stand up for themselves, as she refused to tolerate sexual harassment, assault or mistreatment of any kind.
“[Swift] sought a single dollar in damages, which she was granted,” NPR reported.
The lack of compensation Swift requested highlights the fact that while the star would have been fully deserving of major compensation, it was not about the money or publicity for her.
Swift’s experience with Mueller is not by any means foreign to the millions of women across the country. Many sexual assault instances go unreported, and Swift sends an important message that any level of sexual assault is a criminal act.
Victim-shaming must be stopped, and Swift is now a champion of this movement. NPR wrote that she directly touched upon this in her testimony, saying, “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t.”
Swift chose to sue Mueller for sexual assault to confirm her own self-worth and to encourage other victims to value theirs as well. As a role model to so many young women around the world, Swift’s courage and resilience should be celebrated.