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The Lookout | December 1, 2020

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#MeToo gives victims courage

#MeToo gives victims courage
  • On November 2, 2017

During the month of October, #MeToo was trending on social media. The hashtag has given victims of sexual abuse the courage to speak out and shed light on the issue of sexual assault.

USA Gymnastics in particular has been at the center of a sex abuse scandal since the summer of 2016. That is when Rachel Denhollander accused the now former USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, of sexually assaulting her under the guise of medical treatment. Nassar has been treating (and allegedly abusing) gymnasts since the ‘90s.

Since Denhollander came forward, nearly 140 women have broken their silence — stating they, too, were victims of Nassar.

Nassar, who also served as a sports doctor at Michigan State University, has already pleaded guiltily to child pornography charges. He currently sits in jail awaiting trial.

With Nassar residing in Holt, many of his victims are in the Michigan and Lansing area. However, the #MeToo movement inspired athletes out of state to come forward.

Like many athletes, McKayla Maroney dreamed of going to the Olympics. In 2012, her dreams were realized; she even won a gold medal. But it was not without a price.

Maroney took to Twitter, using the hashtag #MeToo to open up about her experiences with Nassar. She stated that the assault began when she was 13, and didn’t stop until she retired from the sport at 17.

At one point, she was given a sleeping pill by Nassar while on a plane to Japan. When she woke up, she was alone in his hotel room with him. In her statement she wrote, “I thought I was going to die.”

While not a victim of Nassar, Tatiana Gutsu, a two-time gold medalist from the 1992 Olympics, recently announced she was raped by a fellow male gymnast at a gymnastics competition overseas.

The Ukrainian native, who now lives in Michigan, wrote “me too” on her Facebook page, then explained the details of the abuse that occurred when she was just 15.

It’s crazy to think these types of things can happen and either not be noticed or outright ignored. I applaud all the victims who were brave enough to share their story in the past few weeks. Hopefully it will be enough to inspire a change.

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