by Hannah Joyce
As an advocate for victims of sexual and domestic violence, the recent incident with the USA gymnastics team doctor has affected me on many levels. I call this an incident rather than a scandal because I feel like that word is used in gossip magazines to make things sound juicy.
What happened to the survivors of Larry Nassar is not a scandal, it is real life. For most of us, we will forget about this incident in a few months, something else will take the forefront of media, and that will be the new ‘scandal.’ But for the survivors, they will carry this for the rest of their lives. They don’t get to just forget about what this nasty human being did to them and we shouldn’t either. How many people have to become a victim of sexual abuse for society to realize this is NOT an isolated issue. Sexual abuse is occurring all over the world. It’s being done by people that are seen as role models in society, and it’s being down by people looked down upon in society. There are no limits to who might commit sexual assault. There are no limits to who could be a victim of sexual violence.
I will not be giving all the ‘juicy details’ in this article about what happened. This piece is to focus on the survivors. The women that took a stand against a man or let’s says coward that ruined their lives took away their trust in medical professionals and showed them the stereotypes people have when survivors come forward. Many of the victims alerted someone of the abuse that was taking place, and no one listened. They brushed it off as the girls not understanding what a medical exam entails.
At the trial against Nasser, every survivor had the chance to make a victim impact statement. Let me say if you haven’t watched them, you should. As much as it hurts to hear these women’s stories, it is also very empowering. They are all taking a stand against their abuser. This is a huge step for not only them but for society. For everyone that has been abused themselves and is maybe too afraid to come forward, this is showing them that they are strong enough and that there are people in the world that stand with them.
To the survivors of Nassar/sexual violence, You are incredibly unbelievably strong. What your abuser did does not define you, it defines them. You are a kickass strong independent human being. We see you. We hear you. We support you. We stand with you.
Below are available resources,
Safe Helpline (Sexual Assault Support for Military Members) – 877-995-5247 – (24/7)
National Sexual Assault Hotline – 800-656-HOPE (4673) – (24/7)
National Child Abuse Hotline – 1-800-422-4453
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (24/7 hotline), 1-888-628-9454 (Spanish), 1-800-799-4889 (TTY)
Sources/To learn more about the Nassar Incident,