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Tom D'Amore
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Sexual Assault: It Happens on the Examining Table as Well as the Casting Couch

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It’s impossible to ignore—recent headlines have been rampant with accusations of inappropriate behavior from Hollywood’s elite and beyond. From innumerable alleged incidents involving Harvey Weinstein to the recent admissions of guilt by Louis C.K., it’s as if a rather large portion of L.A.’s famous has lost its bearing on their moral compass. Yet, it would be misleading to assume that this problem is in any way more prevalent only within certain circles. To a fault, such incidents are usually an obscene display and abuse of power—thus sexual assault can occur anytime that a would-be attacker feels they have the upper hand in a situation.

Cases in point, the growing list of victims has been recently added to by a number of Olympic-caliber gymnasts—all who claim to have been molested by the same doctor. Some top names include Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, both of whom have been treated by the USA team doctor and alleged perpetrator for years. Shockingly, Dr. Larry Nassar has been affiliated with the USA Gymnastics program for almost 30 years as well as with collegiate athletics at Michigan State University—both of which have now led to more than 130 women accusing him of some form of misconduct since September 2017.

You might ask, how could someone in such a position do such things to so many girls, over so long a period without detection? Sadly, many of these girls have made an all-too-common claim: that they really didn’t realize the gravity of the situation—they were uncomfortable but this was someone they ultimately trusted. In a CBS 60 Minutes story that aired on November 12, 2017, Raisman stated that she did not truly comprehend what was happening at the time. When asked by a USA Gymnastics investigator about whether or not inappropriate touching ever occurred with the doctor, her response was that, “…I don’t think he does it on purpose because, you know, I think he cares about me.”

Currently 53-year-old Nassar is in jail. While he has denied all claims by these female gymnasts and currently maintains his innocence, he is also facing charges of possession of child pornography as well as sexually abusing a family friend.

Ultimately, the court will decide the man’s innocence or guilt, but the real injustice here is suffered by the young women who have been affected by this. As I wrote in a previous post not too long ago, such events can scar a young patient irreparably—while the actual experience can range from uncomfortable to terrifying, the result can be a fear of future medical treatment as well as an inability to trust anyone in an unguarded situation. This goes beyond unfair, and it is behavior that should not be tolerated by us as individuals or as a society—the victims deserved better then, and they deserve our support now.

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