How to Help Get Justice in the Gymnastics Sexual Abuse Case
One of the most powerful manifestations of #MeToo and #TimesUp has been the courage of many of the 265+ women and girls sexually assaulted by former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar.
One by one, through gut-wrenching testimony, Nassar's survivors have painted a picture of the almost-unimaginable scale of his abuse.
Former Olympic gymnast Rachael Denhollander made the first public accusation in 2016, and survivor Kyle Stephens offered the first courtroom statement this January (warning: graphic accounts of child molestation). Michigan Judge Rosemarie Aquilina created the supportive space for the truth to be told.
Nassar will spend every last day of his life in jail. But his many crimes weren't made possible alone.
As two-time Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman testified: "Your abuse started 30 years ago. But that’s just the first reported incident we know of. If over these many years, just one adult listened, and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided. I and so many others would have never, ever met you."
How to help call for accountability
Listen to the experience of Amanda Thomashow, the first woman to file an official complaint against Nassar back in 2014. The MSU response was just 3 sentences: "We cannot find that the conduct was of a sexual nature. Thus, it did not violate the sexual harassment policy. However, we find the claim helpful in that it allows us to examine certain practices at the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic."
Read this list of who else may have enabled, failed to act upon, or covered up Nassar's serial abuse. Some have already lost their jobs. Others are still employed, including members of the US Olympic Committee, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, several MSU athletic trainers, and several law enforcement officials.
Read ESPN Outside the Lines' excellent reporting on how Michigan State's cover-ups of sexual assault go beyond Larry Nassar.
Call the White House (202.456.1111) to urge Donald Trump to sign the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act, which has overwhelmingly passed the Senate and House.
Men: explore and support ReThink's work with young men and boys to break down the cultural norms that underpin sexual violence.
Connect with and donate to organizations working to stop sexual harassment and assault like the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN, which also runs the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline), the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, End Rape on Campus, ReThink, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, and Hollaback. You can find a much longer list here.