In recent months, there have been many cases of sexual harassment brought up by those who were once afraid to come out with their stories. From Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey to Hillary’s faith adviser, Burns Strider, people are now revealing truths that had long been concealed out of pain and fear. One case brought to court last week involved the USA Gymnastics team doctor. The number of incidents involved is unimaginable. More than 250 women have come forward accusing Dr. Larry Nassar of sexually abusing them while under his care as a doctor, according to USA Today. He was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Jan. 24.
In court, dozens of those abused women presented moving statements to Nassar, explaining and revealing just how much pain his actions had caused to each and every one of them. At a time in their lives when they needed assistance, these girls thought they could rely on Nassar to help them, but instead he did just the opposite. People may wonder why the gymnasts didn’t bring up their cases sooner, but it is important to take into consideration that many of them were being abused at very young ages, some twelve years old or younger.
Nassar was said to be one of the best doctors in the country, and that is why so many people trusted him, including all the women he abused. According to an article by Slate, gymnasts are taught to do anything in order to keep their body healthy and in shape in order to prepare for the Olympics. The pressure from coaches and parents have an effect on them, making them more willing to take any sort of pain or discomfort without complaining. Nassar took advantage of this weakness.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina determined his sentence that will last a lifetime. “I just signed your death warrant,” she said. Aquilina allowed these women to come forward and give their testaments to Nassar in court so that they could have a voice and share their stories. Time Magazine has an article with some of the most moving statements from these brave women.
Although Nassar will be locked away for the rest of his life, that doesn’t change the fact that the actions he made cannot be undone. These gymnasts must learn to move on from their scarring experiences. But in a society that is now creating movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up, women all around the world have shown that they are ready and able to finally bring forth their stories. They will be supported and comforted by the world around them. Even if the damage has already done to them, they can use their voices to protect future generations.