Getting Away with 20+ Years of Sexual Assault

Larry Nassar shocked the nation as sexual assault accusations began to arise through many different newscasts. For years after years, he tormented women of all ages in the gymnastics world. He really got away with it for so long due to the lack of justice throughout his years as a gymnastics doctor. It is evident that many of the higher-ups in the community knew about what was going on and did absolutely nothing about it. “At the Heart of Gold” documentary on HBO discusses the need for a better system of communication, healing, and truth. Doctors, in general, are supposed to be healers. They are not meant to break you down even further. Larry Nassar had a position of power within the competitive nature of gymnastics. He selfishly destroyed the reputation of woman’s gymnastics programs, the many women that he assaulted, and the trust that children should have in authority figures.

After watching the documentary and doing some research, it is clear that many of the girls found that their parents, coaches, trainers, and other adults involved were not approachable. And even when these girls built up the courage to reach out to their coaches, they failed to file any reports and didn’t deem it necessary to investigate further. I find it alarming that this big of an organization is this disorganized and doesn’t care about the well being of their athletes.   

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The USA Woman Gymnastics program allowed Larry Nassar to easily take advantage of young girls in an already stressful, competitive, environment. Girls involved with gymnastics are not to show any weakness; that includes, speaking up about any concerning injuries or in this case, assault. Larry was a doctor for over 20 plus years and yet no one took the side of these women. Why did the higher-ups in the gymnastic community let this go on for so long dispute all the accusations? And after watching this documentary, I still don’t know the answer to this. Larry Nassar ended up getting well over life in prison. But what about the president of the USA gymnastics organization who was close with Larry? Why aren’t the president and other advisors also getting this harsh of a punishment? Kathie Klages, a gymnast coach at Michigan State University, was approached by a young gymnast and was told that Larry was abusing her. Klages was told in 1997, and failed to report or do anything about it because she was friends with Larry.  

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In the case with Larry Nassar, the female judge allowed over 100 victims to read handwritten letters to his face in the courtroom. It begs the question if it was a male judge would the victims have that opportunity to speak. Or, would the presence of a male judge lessen his sentence? I one hundred percent agree with the judges ruling and truly believe that reading these letters would help the victims’ healing process.

Not only did the Larry Nassar case shake the nation it also exposed organizations who think that with enough power they can also control others. I am disgusted by the lack of action taken by people who are supposed to be there for these athletes and just weren’t. It’s also scary to assume that there could be more organizations covering up abuse in situations similar to this one. And overall, Larry deserves what he got but again, power, I guess, is the key to getting away with no penalties.

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