Someone said something very important to me today and it really made me think. I spent this morning following along as women testified against Larry Nassar. If you don’t know this name, you should. Everyone should be educated on this terrible man and the things he did. I listened this morning and my heart broke for the women who were sexually assaulted by this man.
To give a little background, Larry Nassar was a doctor at Michigan State University, and also a doctor for the Olympic Gymnastic Team and he is being charged for numerous first-degree sexual assault charges. More than 140 women have accused him of sexual assault and over the past couple of days, a number of these women have delivered statements to the judge of the case and to Larry Nassar himself about the impact of the sexual assault on them, on their families and on their lives.
I listened to a handful of these statements. They left me feeling both heart broken and empowered. These women were damaged and broken, but together they formed an unbreakable army against this monster of a man.
I felt like I could relate a lot to these women. Again and again they all told similar stories. Stories of feeling used, abused, dirty and guilty. They were being assaulted, yet they were left feeling guilty. This is a reoccurring feeling of sexual assault victims. Guilt. Even the media is forcing guilt upon the victims of Nassar, accusing them of wanting attention and money. I guarantee these women do not want attention because a man they thought they could trust assaulted them. I guarantee all of these women would much rather have their innocence and childhood back, rather than any amount of money.
They’re voices and words will hopefully put this man away for the rest of his life and hopefully stop anything like this from happening again.
It was hard for me to listen not only because the statements were very detailed, but because I was left feeling guilty myself. Guilty because I do not have the same strength as these women to talk about my sexual assault. Guilty because the man who harmed me, is still out there, innocent, not knowing the numbness he put into my heart. Guilty because there could be other women out there that he did the same thing to and also women out there that he could still do damaging things to in the future.
The important thing that was said to me tonight was that even though I may not ever charge the man who sexually assaulted me, that doesn’t take away what he did. I was still a victim, I was still harmed because of a man’s actions against me and I will still forever have to live knowing what happened. Charging this man may not be the right choice for me, but that doesn’t take away the heaviness in my heart, the fear in the pit of my stomach or the violation that happened to my body. Choosing to not charge this man doesn’t make me weak. I survived and I will continue to survive. I will continue to use my experience to help and relate to others.
“My dream is that one day everyone will know what the words #MeToo signify. But they will be educated and able to protect themselves from predators like Larry so that they will never ever, ever have to say the words, ‘me, too.'”