American Gymnasts Say “#MeToo”

Megan Lafond, Contributing Writer

Gymnast after gymnast has come forward over the last couple of months to speak the truth about the allegations of sexual assault surrounding USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar. Those who spoke included well-known Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney, as well as former gymnasts Jade Capua, Kyle Stephens, and even the mother of Chelsea Markham, a former patient of Nassar who took her own life because “she couldn’t deal with the pain anymore.”

As a result of this court case, USA Gymnastics (USAG) has received backlash on how they handled the issue. When gymnasts tried to speak about what happened, they were hushed and told it would be handled, but year after year nothing changed. Recently, as the #MeToo campaign has given women the strength and confidence to come forward, USAG is under fire. According to CNN, three of its members on the board of directors have announced their resignations. An interim chairperson is to be named as they search for new members who will hopefully bring change to the board, which is in dire need of reform.

In this case, the sickening stories told by hundreds of girls and young women are part of a collection of many that have been given spotlight in the media recently. The movement of women speaking out started with movie producer Harvey Weinstein and since then has additionally taken down morning news anchor Matt Lauer, and Johnny Iuzzini, chef and judge on ABC’s “The Great American Baking Show,” to name just two of fifty-one men The New York Times recorded on their list of men following Weinstein who “have been fired, resigned or experienced similar professional fallout” as of Nov. 2017.

Although these allegations bring feelings of sadness and anger, they also are bringing strength to men and women across the nation to feel safe not only telling their story for the world to hear, but confident in themselves and who they are today. In almost every speech I heard when researching the Larry Nassar case, each young woman spoke with power in her voice. Stevens concluded her speech with, “Well Larry, I’m here not to tell someone but to tell everyone.” Those words stick, and for Nassar, hopefully sting.

This seems to be a revolution that is not even close to ending. When it does, maybe the world will be closer to freedom from molesters and sex offenders. Young girls will feel safe to go to gymnastic practice, and Olympians won’t have the memory of their dream stained by a horrible human being who was supposed to heal, not harm them. Thank you to all the women who have, are, and will come forward for reshaping the headlines of media to put women at the forefront.

(Visited 212 times, 1 visits today)