Sexual Assault allegations seem to be in the forefront of our political sphere. From the Weinstein allegations to several high profile cases, we have never seen how industries fall to the will of sexual assaulters. This protection of abusers has allowed sexual assault to transform from a crime to a complex and well-oiled machine, allowing sexual assault acts to be committed multiple times with the protection of high-level corporations.
A clear example can be seen in the sexual assault allegations of former team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Throughout the 90's, Nassar worked as a sports medic at Michigan State University, sexually assaulting hundreds of young athletes. Now this sexual abuse didn't start and end with Larry Nassar– it never does. MSU coach Kathie Klages denied any complaints of Nassar in an official police report, clearing him of all sexual assault allegations at one point in his career.
Kathie Klages' testimony directly contradicts with that of several other student-athletes at the time, who claim they went to Klages on multiple occasions. Klages was said to have guilted the victims into staying silent, allowing Nassar's abuse to be continued well into his career.
As Nassar's career grew, he began working as a sports doctor under the team USA gymnasts. The cycle continued. Nassar's impeccable accomplishments allowed him to continue with his abuse while simultaneously being protected from repercussion by huge corporations– like the U.S Olympics.
Sexual assault and abuse rarely as a singular incident. More often than not, these incidents are interconnected within the institutions they occur in. Corporations like Michigan State University, and the US Olympics, would rather sweep sexual assault allegations under the carpet than face the harsh realities. What we see in effect are hundreds of allegations revealed years later.
Instead of stopping the abuse in its tracks, there are hundreds of people adding to its effects. Corporations defend it, high ranked employees disbelieve it, and victims, in turn, silence themselves. Nassar's acts are a part of a bigger picture: sexual assault today is more institutionalized and deeply rooted than ever before.
Changing a culture built on sexual assault and the defense of it does not extend only to individuals. Education and sexual assault awareness must be implemented on a larger scale. Corporations must be reprimanded and held accountable for their equal blame in the perpetuation of this culture. The sexual assault does not start and end with Larry Nassar. It extends beyond the eye can see.