Countless victims of sexual abuse confront their perpetrator: Larry Nassar

By Ava Simunovic ’20

Sexual abuse victims faced gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar at his sentencing on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Nassar pleaded guilty in November on the account of ten first degree sexual misconduct cases with victims as young as six years old.

In a Michigan Courtroom nearly 100 victims stood before their abuser and gave their statements, recounting the trauma that Nassar caused them and finally speaking their truth. Among these powerful women was former gymnast Kyle Stephens. “Little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world,” Stephens said.

Nassar’s 60 years in prison, which he received after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges, is looking to be added onto after his sentencing on the Jan. 16.

Olympic gymnasts such as Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney all came forward about the abuse that they have suffered at the hands of Nassar. Simone Biles is the most recent addition to the long list of girls who Nassar assaulted. On Jan. 15, Biles tweeted, “There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now that it is not my fault.”

More than 140 female athletes have accused the once-trusted doctor of sexual abuse. Many have said that powerful institutions such as USA gymnastics and the sports governing body in the United States pressured them into silence.

Staples student Kelly Griffin ’20 has been doing gymnastics her whole life. “It’s hard to believe the leaders of my sport were unaware of this activity as well as providing such lazy attention upon their gymnasts,” Griffin said. “Being a Junior Olympic gymnastics member was always something I took pride in, until recently.”

By speaking out now, these countless women who have been burdened by the horrific actions of Nassar are looking to initiate change within society and the world.

Simone Biles looks for a brighter future for girls everywhere. In her twitter post she writes, “We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Photo used under the Creative Commons License