U of R professors honored as "Silence Breakers" by TIME

(Provided photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - Two University of Rochester professors are now being honored along with other "Silence Breakers" as TIME magazine's "Person of the Year."

This year, TIME is recognizing those men and women who spoke out about sexual harassment and abuse, often at the hands of powerful men in Hollywood and politics.

One of the two U. of R. professors learned about the honor Wednesday morning when the news broke.

Dr. Celeste Kidd said it's surreal to be part of what she sees as the biggest civil rights issues of our time.

When Dr. Kidd broke her silence, she accused University of Rochester's Dr. Florian Jaeger, a man she worked under as a graduate student.

“When I came forward, it was really about protecting my students. The idea of my students going through the same things I went through was not acceptable to me,” said Dr. Kidd.

A sexual harassment complaint and EEOC complaint would follow, and Dr. Kidd prepared to lose her career.

“I was making backup plans for what happens if I get pushed out of science entirely,” she explained.

That was in September.

Now, she's in shock to be named as one of TIME magazine's “Silence Breakers."

TIME stated with this recognition, it is acknowledging millions of women and men who've come forward in the "#MeToo" movement with allegations of sexual harassment spanning from powerful Hollywood men to politicians.

“It's crucial that women in all the industries know that women are allies," said Kidd. "The fact that they didn't just cover Hollywood, they also had migrant farm works, journalists.”

Sitting in her quiet living room, Kidd says this award gives power, for the first time, to victims.

“You're putting so much on the line complaining," she said. "That usually doesn't go in your favor. To say something is to put yourself at risk, and women don't do that casually.”

And while many hope to see more changes to workplace policies dealing with sexual harassment, this iconic recognition shows how widespread the issue is.

“People in a position of power that will say, ‘No, this is not okay that this student is going through this,’ is really key to enacting change," said Kidd.

We reached out to University of Rochester for comment on this recognition. They declined to comment.

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