April 19, 2019 | 73° F

WANG: Nassar's conviction gives taste of justice

Opinions Column: A Third Person Perspective


As Alexandre Dumas once said, “Women are never so strong as after their defeat.”

This statement could not possibly ring anymore true after more than 150 women have confronted Larry Nassar for his blatant abuse of power as a sports physician. 

Nassar spent his career as a sports physician sexually abusing and molesting young women who entrusted themselves in his care. He spent the entirety of his career fooling parents and by using his reputation as an excellent physician for children, and he allowed parents to entrust their own children with a monster who disguised sexual abuse as professional treatment. 

But, even after Nassar's pathetic plea of how hearing all of his victims’ impact statements have pained him, “... Nassar wrote to the court recently in which he defended his medical care, said he was ‘manipulated’ into pleading guilty and accused the women of lying.”

This sheer lack of remorse and this disgusting audacity to place blame on his victims is a reason why this entire #MeToo movement has recently become the most powerful and effective tool on social media to spread knowledge and rid ignorance about the prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment toward women.

The entirety of Nassar’s scandal has resulted in this domino effect. Society is finally beginning to witness, experience and have the answers to questions that have been targeted toward victims and survivors of sexual abuse ever since women began to voice the injustices they face. In regard to cases of sexual harassment, assault or abuse toward women, there is always question regarding why women choose to wait so long before they speak. We suffer from this societal disease that makes it our initial response to make women feel as if they choose to victimize themselves by staying silent for so long.

I think it would be almost stupid for anyone to say that Olympic medalists like Simone Biles and Aly Raisman are weak. These two women are some of the most elite and professional athletes in the entire world, and watching female Olympians share and relate to struggles that affect so much of the female population is heartbreaking. These women are resilient. They are survivors. But as if living with the details of their sexual abuse was not difficult enough, it is almost inspirational to watch women like Jamie Dantzscher admit how Nassar was so manipulative in his sexual abuse that for a moment, he almost appeared like her "guardian angel." 

Sexual abuse has never been black and white — it has taken decades for society to finally realize that stereotypes regarding sexual abuse and assault toward women, which “have” to be defined as physical struggles or immediate anger, are the only ways to validate these cases of abuse. As to why it had to take more than 150 women to be taken advantage of by Nassar for society to finally understand is completely infuriating, but women like Dantzscher paint a clearer image for all of us as to how those who abuse their positions of authority genuinely seem to their victims. Instead of blaming women for the injustices that happen to them, I think it is time people began to question how one man managed to upheave the entirety of the U.S. Olympics Committee by establishing a position for himself that made it disgustingly simple for him to molest young gymnasts. It is almost this reconciliation between pain and bitter laughter seeing and hearing about women who experience sexual assault not taken seriously, because there is no way possible that the monsters they accuse could possibly exist. But now we have a monster who undermined the entirety of the Olympics committee, and as for how far his sexual abuse actually pervades society — that is something that we have not quite figured out yet. 

Women who stay quiet are not weak. Women who initially trusted those who sexually abused them are not suffering from any case of absent-minded and whimsical changing of mind. And what they have to say is completely valid. The entirety of this sexual abuse scandal has finally begun to combat the outright sexism and misogyny painted on women for simply being women. Not only do we get a glimpse of what it feels like for these females assaulted in Nassar’s “care,” we also realize the extent of a woman’s power. Through broken bones, sprained ankles and raw blisters on top of hours of brutal training, these women achieved their gold medals while battling the demons that Nassar created for them. 

These women have become trailblazers for what it means to be female professional athletes, and most importantly, a chance for all victims out there to get a glimpse as to what justice truly looks like once served. 

Ashley Wang is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in English and minoring in philosophy. Her column, "A Third Person Perspective," runs on alternate Mondays.


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Ashley Wang

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