We are failing our sexual assault survivors
Last month I wrote about Governor Cuomo’s fall in my eyes from the amazing politician to a mere bully who stoops to levels unimaginable. The topic has been on my mind. The “#MeToo” movement has indeed shown the world the extent and magnitude of the problem. It is as much about gender and power as it is about sexual misconduct. So this month I am compelled to write about Larry Nassar.
Who is Larry Nassar? Proud UMich alum, osteopathic physician, US Women's national gymnastics team doctor for close to two decades. I didn’t know his name until recently when the news started pouring in of his sexual misconducts with way too many young women and girls under his charge. Over many years Larry Nassar assaulted young gymnasts - abusing his position of authority. So when the allegations started coming in, an FBI enquiry was set up to investigate further.
A Department of Justice review published this July, found that F.B.I. agents delayed their investigation, neglected to interview certain crucial witnesses and failed to notify state law enforcement. The F.B.I. 's lack of action left Mr. Nassar free to continue working with girls and further assaulting many more athletes who might have been spared if only F.B.I were to carry out its duty diligently.
This utter negligence and gross misconduct in Larry Nassar’s case isn’t isolated or restricted to the F.B.I alone. Sexual assault survivors who are brave enough to report their abuse and cooperate with an investigation often realize that either the police fail to investigate their cases thoroughly or the prosecutors fail to prosecute them conscientiously. As if the victims haven’t already been traumatized enough!
While Larry Nassar did the wrongdoings, the entire system enabled and perpetrated his abuse. What a shame! I am reminded of what Senator Feinstein said not too long ago, on the topic of sexual abuse. “It should not be a survivor’s burden to continually seek justice and demand an end to their nightmares. That’s the job of our law enforcement agencies.” Wake up, America! Let’s change the system for the sake of the survivors. Let’s change it for a better tomorrow.