Over One Hundred and Sixty Survivors

The year is 1986. Larry Nassar accepts a position as an athletic trainer for the USA Gymnastics national team. In 1996, he is promoted to national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics, traveling with the team for the Summer Olympics. In 1997, Larry Nassar becomes a team physician and assistant professor at Michigan State University. Someone complains about Nassar, but nobody calls 911, nobody files a police report, nobody investigates or removes him. In 1998, an MSU student athlete confides that there’s something wrong, but nobody takes action. In 2000, another MSU student athlete complains, but nobody takes them seriously. Larry Nassar travels to Sydney, Australia for the Summer Olympics with the USA Gymnastics team, without a care in the world, and in 2008, he’ll be at the Beijing Games. In 2014, an MSU graduate will tell her alma mater that Larry Nassar sexually assaulted her. Michigan State University will declare him innocent three months later. He is not fired or asked to resign.                                

On August 29, 2016, Rachael Denhollander files a police report alleging Nassar abused her when she was fifteen years old. The next day, Michigan State finally resigns Nassar of all clinical and patient duties. On September 20th, roughly a month later, Michigan State will finally fire him. Within the following months, he will finally be charged with three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13, and be indicted on federal child pornography charges.

As of today, the grand total of accusations against Nassar tips the scale at over 160, and the youngest victim was around 6 years old when he assaulted her.  

Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas - four out of five members of the Fierce Five team that won gold in London 2012, make up the over 160.

Olympian Aly Raisman 

Simone Biles, who set an American record for most gold medals earned for Women’s Gymnastics in a single Olympics (Rio 2016), and has a very complicated double layout half twist named after her, makes up the over 160.

And so in late January 2018, Larry Nassar watched Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sign his death warrant.

Although the 175 year sentence is a victory for the girls who endured debilitating emotional and psychological pain for decades, some humans have had the audacity to cry foul because they think the judge was too harsh. Certain humans (are they really human? I am not so sure anymore) think that when Judge Rosemarie Aquilina called the sentencing “Nassar’s death sentence” and mused about the Code of Hammurabi, created by the sixth king of the First Babylonian Dynasty, she was taking things too far.  Some people have made the decision that yes, they will indeed have the audacity to hyperfocus upon a single line within hundreds of hours of deposition and testimony of what could possibly be the trial and conviction of one of, if not the most, dangerous, ruthless, deplorable serial rapists to ever exist on the planet because they think the lady was such a b*tch. Watching people complain on social media and seeing articles published about how mean Judge Rosemarie Aquilina was to a vicious monster who has spent decades raping little girls and young women is probably one of the most gut wrenching things I have witnessed in my life - ever since, of course, I heard pop icon Kesha’s case against Dr. Luke was thrown out of court because the judge didn’t believe her, and the judge in Turner’s case pitied the father who called his son’s rape of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster “20 minutes of action."

Systematic failure in our legal systems did not warrant these peoples’ public complaints. Mountains of forgotten, untouched rape kits did not frustrate them into tweeting out their anger.  Some heartless fiends decided that the victory of more than 160 women didn’t quite warrant enough interest or respect. The fact that a high profile rapist will finally receive a sentence that will not be 6 measly months long (never forget that Turner walked out a free man in 3) was not enough to make some people shut their mouths.

Kyle Stephens, who was raped by Larry Nassar as a kindergartener, stood in court and announced that “little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world." I am so overjoyed and excited for the impact these 160 indomitable women have made and will continue to make upon our world.