The Irony of Nassar’s Conviction

Larry Nassar seems to be a name that can’t escape the headlines these days. Nassar, the doctor who was in charge of taking care of the USA female gymnastics Olympic team,  was found guilty of sexually assaulting over a hundred of his female patients. Some of the victims testified in the courtroom, narrating the horrifying experiences they went through, while others preferred to send in their testimonies since they were still scarred by the incidents to dare testify. It was evident during the trial that the convicted man had assaulted these women and made them go through absolutely horrible experiences. When the time came for the honorary judge Rosemarie Aquilina to sentence this abuser, she decided to punish him in the harshest way the law allowed her to, yet some people thought this was “too harsh” of a punishment.

The judge, along with the rest of the victims’ families and trial attendees, had to sit and listen to the hundreds of accounts of assault in explicit detail. She also saw how Nassar would shake his head in denial during almost every testimony. As being the person convicted, Nassar had the chance to testify and defend himself. Instead, he decided to write a letter as his testimony in which  he never apologized for his wrongdoings, but instead, placed the blame on the victims for allowing themselves to be convinced by the media that his treatments were wrong. Seeing how Larry Nassar seemed to feel like he was not at fault, the judge decided to sentence him with 40 to 175 years in prison. The judge delivered her sentence very firmly by telling him that she considered him an active danger to society, and that for that reason she told him  “I just signed your death warrant."

To some people, the judge’s sentence and the way she delivered it, was completely fair seeing how he assaulted so many victims and did not own up to his actions. However, to others, the judge was “too harsh” in her sentencing and was scrutinized by it. Some people’s defense, including Vox’s Rachel Marshall, is  that judges should be “neutral, independent arbiters, who impartially evaluate the evidence and apply the law,” and they feel that Rosemarie Aquilina was not in this case.

The irony in this opinion is astounding.  How is it that people are angry at the fact that this abuser is getting punished for his crimes? The judge heard the victims’ testimonies, reached her own conclusion about which punishment he deserved and explained her reasoning for the sentence. There are so many victims that have been scarred for life with the awful memories of assault, and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives. It is only fair that the abuser gets punished for his wrongdoings. Society needs to recognize that sexual assault is completely wrong, and we shouldn't defend these abusers for being “nice people.”  We need to validate the victim’s feelings by giving the abuser the punishment he deserves without pitying him.

People are mad at a Aquilina for doing her job, punishing the wrongdoings of the abuser, and if people are being angered by this, maybe it's time to take a look at how our society diminishes sexual assault and belittles it as an occurrence that is not as serious as it truly is.