Time person of the year 2017: The story of the woman who you didn't see on the 'silence-breakers' cover

Jon Sharman
The anonymous woman's elbow appears on Time's 'person of the year' cover: Time

The anonymous woman featured on the cover of Time magazine's “person of the year” issue, is a young hospital worker from “the middle of the country” who fears the repercussions if she comes forward with her story of sexual harassment, its editor in chief said.

Dedicated to “the silence-breakers", the magazine decided to champion the women and men who have come forward to accuse powerful figures, including former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, of sexual misconduct.

But while some of the women can be clearly identified on it's front page picture, only the right arm of the anonymous woman can be seen.

The magazine's editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, said told NBC News' Today programme that the woman had "shared her story with us and some others but doesn’t feel that she can come forward without threatening her livelihood.”

He said: “The image you see partially on the cover is of a woman we talked to, a hospital worker in the middle of the country".

He added: "One of the important things we explore in our coverage around the issue is, of course, the parade of headlines is non-stop and incredible to see, but we look at the degree to which this is really just the beginning. How far will it go, and how deep into the country? How long-lasting?

The woman told the magazine that she still wondered whether she could have stopped the encounter.

She said: “I thought, What just happened? Why didn’t I react? I kept thinking, ‘Did I do something, did I say something, did I look a certain way to make him think that was OK?’”

The potential negative impact on her family was her reason for staying anonymous, she added.