Larry Nassar, the disgraced former gymnastics physician at Michigan State University and the United States, has been accused of sexual abuse by 140 women. That is almost as many victims as the scandals of Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein combined .
However, the name of Nassar does not dominate the national news. He does not have people protesting outside his house. It has not become a key point for every night television presenter.
Days before his sentencing on January 16, many of Nassar's victims are asking themselves the same question: Why does not anyone seem to care about his story?
"I remember when it was spoken The Penn State scandal lasted for months and months and even years, which is almost five times larger and no one knows, "survivor of sexual abuse Morgan McCaul told HuffPost.
] A dancer and freshman college student, McCaul is one of dozens of plaintiffs named anonymously in lawsuits against Nassar, MSU and USA Gymnastics. The 18-year-old said Nassar began sexually abusing her when she was 12 in 2012. The abuse continued for three years.
McCaul described how he repeatedly had to explain to teachers why he needs to miss a class or an exam due to an upcoming court date. Often, he said, they have no idea of the Nassar case.
"It's been hard to accept, especially because it's about people I hope to educate," said McCaul, who attends the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which is only an hour away from MSU. "Even the people who teach in the universities do not know that this happened"
'I have not felt the outrage'
HuffPost spoke with six survivors who are suing Nassar , MSU and / or USA Gymnastics: McCaul, Alexis Alvarado, Jessica Smith, Christine Harrison, Larissa Boyce (who have left publicly since the lawsuits were filed) and "Jane Doe" (who wants to remain anonymous). The six women – three gymnasts, two dancers and one soccer player – shared a similar sentiment, that the country does not seem to care what happened to them.
"I have not felt the outrage," said Boyce, who alleges that Nassar began abusing her when she was 16 and continued from 1997 to 2001.
Many people seem to believe that only Olympic athletes [abuse] happened, which is not true.
Nassar accuser Alexis Alvarado
Alvarado believes that the country essentially ignored the trauma inflicted on her and the other women because they are not famous athletes. The 19-year-old said Nassar sexually abused her for six years from age 12.
"A lot of people seem to believe that it's only the Olympians what happened with [abuse] which is not true," he said.
Alvarado has a point. Although the Nassar scandal has shaken MSU and the surrounding community of East Lansing (thanks to stellar reports from the local media), it seems that the only times that Nassar's name became national news were the Olympians, including gymnasts Aly. Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney. – presented with accusations.
Other survivors believe that their stories have not made headlines because they are female athletes .
"I think he takes into account the importance we give to male athletics against female athletics," McCaul said. "This is a case of gymnasts and dancers and artistic skaters, not football players or basketball players, I think it's sexism, to be honest, there's no other explanation for why so many women have come forward and it's not great news "
Smith, who said Nassar abused her for a few months when she was 17, also sees a connection between the identities of Nassar's victims and the lack of public attention.
"It's hard to feel that, if I were an Olympic gymnast, maybe this would be different, if I was a football player in MSU or a basketball player in MSU, then maybe the public and the MSU as an institution worry more," he said. .
Decades of abuse by a trusted doctor
Nassar, 54, young athletes who were sexually abused, many of whom were top gymnasts and dancers, for decades under the guise of medical treatment . According to court documents, she gained the trust of the girls and their families, who then protected her by using their exams to caress and digitally penetrate the girls in the vagina and anus.
For many years, he treated many of these athletes as a doctor on the US gymnastics team. UU., Physician of several sports teams of the MSU and sports physician of the Twistars gymnasium of Michigan.
The first accusation against Nassar was made public in September 2016, one year before the explosive increase in the #MeToo movement. He had already been fired by USA Gymnastics in 2015 and was subsequently fired from his teaching position at MSU. In December 2016, he was arrested for possessing at least 37,000 images of child pornography, and in July of 2017, he pleaded guilty to three federal charges related to child pornography. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison this December.
In November, Nassar also pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual misconduct in the first degree and is awaiting sentencing for those crimes. He said in a statement to the court that he was "so terribly sad" for what he did and that he hopes the victims and the community can heal.
Nassar faces a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison for counting sexual misconduct. According to reports, the Michigan Attorney General's office asked the judge to sentence him between 40 and 125 years.
'Fed up with MSU trying to look good instead of being good'
It is safe to say that Nassar has been condemned as a sexual abuser by both law and public opinion, and will probably die in prison. But what about the institutions that allowed their crimes to continue for so long?
Many of Nassar's victims say that they told parents, coaches, MSU instructors and even the police what happened behind closed doors. Again and again, the girls' claims were allegedly ignored or swept under the rug.
"I'm sick of MSU trying to look good instead of being good," said Smith.
Apparently, several university employees did not comply with the mandatory reporting regulations when they were informed of the abuse. MSU doctor Brooke Lemmen and MSU gym coach Kathie Klages have resigned in the face of growing accusations. The dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, William D. Strampel, took a medical permit from his position in December. The president of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, resigned in March 2017 after public scrutiny of the matter.
None of them, Smith and the other women who spoke with HuffPost believe they have faced sufficient punishment for their failures.
"I think that everyone that the victims reported or that they knew that this was happening and did nothing, should have been canceled immediately, and that is not the case," McCaul said. . "I feel that it sends a great message to the victims that there are no consequences for what these people did."
It is insulting as a victim to have to ask for answers about why Nassar was enabled for the entire time he was there.
Nassar's accuser Christine Harrison
Boyce knows very well the consequences of people in power not following the mandatory information standards . He said he had told Klages about Nassar's behavior in 1997 and that the coach had told him that he should have misunderstood the medical procedure. At age 16, Boyce was so embarrassed and confused that he continued to see Nassar for years, during which time he continued to abuse her.
Klages did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment.
"It seems that MSU, USAG and Twistars only see us as a financial burden that needs to be silenced and crushed, devalued and discredited, all while trying to say that we regret that it happened to us and that they are on our side," Boyce said. "They are denying any responsibility, saying they did not know that a predator was among them." That's like a slap in the face to the seven girls who told several MSU employees in the last 20 years and [they] did nothing about it. How come that does not show his total negligence? "
The university's response to the accusations has made an exhausting process much more difficult, Harrison said.
"It is insulting as a victim to have to ask for answers about why Nassar was enabled during the entire time he was there," he said. "MSU did not take care of what they let go … The enablers should be charged and a thorough investigation should be launched, but we have not yet seen any of those actions put in place."
MSU denied having concealed Nassar's behavior in any way.
"Any suggestion that the university covered Nassar's horrible behavior is simply false," MSU spokesman Jason Cody told HuffPost earlier this month. "Nassar took advantage of his victims, changing their lives in terrible ways." As [MSU] President Simon said, MSU truly laments the abuse suffered by all the victims, the pain it caused and the pain it still causes. "
MSU and Twistars filed motions separately on Friday to dismiss the lawsuits against their organizations. USA Gymnastics filed a similar motion last month, citing the statute of limitations.
"Nassar's behavior is disgusting, and USAG deplores Nassar's crimes, but Nassar, not USAG, is responsible for Nassar's criminal actions," wrote Andrew Portinga, a United States gymnastics lawyer in court papers
'We are not just Jane: we are people with feelings'
McCaul and dozens of other Nassar victims plan to read impact statements at their sentencing hearing, which begins on Tuesday. In McCaul's impact statement, he deals with his dream of becoming a doctor.
"I'm studying premedicine, and sometimes I wonder if I still think doctors can be good people," he writes.
The six women who spoke with HuffPost talked about how difficult it has been to present their stories. More than one described the experience as an "emotional roller coaster". Many plan to use their impact statements to discuss the aftermath of Nassar's abuse: depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, extreme migraines, panic attacks, stomach problems, shame, insomnia, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, the list goes on and on.
They all agreed, however, that they found comfort and consolation in another.
Harrison said he hopes the public will understand that behind every Jane Doe in these lawsuits, there is a young woman who works through years of trauma.
"The abuse that happened to the survivors is something that will affect us for the rest of our lives," Harrison said. "I introduced myself to share my story and identity because others need to know that we are not just Jane Does, we are individuals with feelings."
Now, a dance teacher, Smith said that in November she looked at her students, many of whom are girls, and she realized she had to present her story. On the day her accusations were made public, a 7-year-old student gave her a card decorated with glitter and hearts that read: "You are my hero."
"I just looked at her and held back the tears, and she was beaming smiling," Smith said. "I had no idea how his small gesture gave me such security"
Need help? In the USA Visit the online National Sexual Assault hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the website of the National Resource Center on Sexual Violence.
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