Survivors reduced Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar to tears, during the sexual abuse case hearing.What felt like a eulogy to their lost childhood and innocence, these gymnasts didn’t shy away from putting out their anger and heartbreak. These statements are something every survivor of sexual assault and abuse wants to tell the tormentor.
Those who chose to overlook abusive behaviour are to be blamed as well
Jordyn Wieber, who won a gold in London Olympics called out all those who turned a blind eye towards Larry Nassar’s behaviour, “Larry Nassar is accountable. USA Gymnastics is accountable. The US Olympic Committee is accountable. My teammates and friends have been through enough, and now it’s time for change. The current gymnasts should not have to live in anxiety and fear as I did.”
Weiber’s statement echoes the frustration of survivors towards the society’s attitude to sexual abuse cases.
From institutions to families, most adults try to find ways to cover up incidences of child sexual abuse. Such people are equally responsible for the trauma of the survivors. If only society would stop turning a blind eye towards such perpetrators. It is commendable of Weiber, to put the blame where it lies, apart from the said predator.
Another gymnast Aly Raisman, six times Olympic medalist echoed Weiber’s emotions, “Adult after adult protected you. How do you sleep at night?” She made it clear that she intended to erase all influence Nassar had on USA Gymnastics. “You are the person they had ‘take the lead on athlete care.’ I cringe to think your influence remains in the policies they [USA Gymnastics] claim will make athletes safe. I will not rest until every last trace of the influence you had on this sport has been destroyed like the cancer it is.”
No amount of punishment will negate the trauma the victims go through
When several actors, producers and directors from Hollywood faced the wrath of #MeToo one common debate often sprung up. Do you separate art from the artist? Is it right to shun movies or masterpieces created by men prone to predatory behaviour? Many think that art will lose in this battle to no fault of its own. Others, however, opine that there is no better way to punish powerful and famous predators, than to strip them of their achievements and acknowledgements.
Men like Larry Nassar need to be put in trial rooms, and made to hear accounts of their victims, and of what they think of the abuser. Because that inconvenience is nothing compared to what the survivors have to go through.
Olympian Jamie Dantzscher highlighted how the abuse took a toll on her physical and mental well-being.
“’I struggled with anorexia, bulimia, and depression so severe that I was hospitalized for attempting suicide.” She could not control her emotions and let all rage loose on Nassar.
We should Reduce sexual predators to nothing
Furthermore, men like Larry Nasser forget that the power and trust they chose to abuse, comes back to haunt them. One of his victims, Kyle Stephens, echoed this fact in her statement.
“Little girls don’t stay little forever. They turn into strong women who return to destroy your world.”
Nassar’s only legacy is how a doctor drunk on power and pretense of healing, bruised lives of talented athletes of whose well-being he was in charge of. Also, he will cease to be an osteopath who spent nearly 30 years as a trainer and national medical coordinator in the USA Gymnastics program. The 140 survivors have reduced him nothing more than a person who deserves to rot in jail.
Aly Raisman made sure that Nassar was aware of this shift in power.
“Larry, you do realize that this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force and you are nothing.”
Picture Credits: Bleacher Report
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own