But on Aug. 29, 2016, when I filed the first police complaint against Larry Nassar for sexually abusing me when I was a 15-year-old girl and chose to release a very public story detailing what he had done, it felt like a shot in the dark. I came as prepared as possible: I brought medical journals showing what real pelvic floor technique looks like; my medical records, which showed that Larry had never mentioned that he used such techniques even though he had penetrated me; the names of three pelvic floor experts ready to testify to police that Larry’s treatment was not medical; other records from a nurse practitioner documenting my disclosure of abuse in 2004; my journals from that time; and a letter from a neighboring district attorney vouching for my character. I worried that any less meant I would not be believed — a concern I later learned was merited.
.. I lost my church. I lost my closest friends as a result of advocating for survivors who had been victimized by similar institutional failures in my own community.
I lost every shred of privacy.
.. When a new friend searched my name online or added me as a friend on Facebook, the most intimate details of my life became available long before we had even exchanged phone numbers. I avoided the grocery stores on some days, to make sure my children didn’t see my face on the newspaper or a magazine. I was asked questions about things no one should know when I least wanted to talk.
.. And the effort it took to move this case forward — especially as some called me an “ambulance chaser” just “looking for a payday” — often felt crushing.
.. These were the very cultural dynamics that had allowed Larry Nassar to remain in power.
.. Some were abused when they were as young as 6 years old.
Some were victimized nearly three decades ago, others only days before my report was filed. Far worse, victims began to come forward who had tried to sound the alarm years before
.. they were suffering deep wounds from having been silenced, blamed and often even sent back for continued abuse... More than 200 women have now alleged abuse by Larry Nassar... at least 14 coaches, trainers, psychologists or colleagues had been warned of his abuse... a vast majority of those victims were abused after his conduct was first reported by two teenagers to M.S.U.’s head gymnastics coach as far back as 1997... Because most pedophiles present a wholesome persona, they are able to ingratiate themselves into communities.
.. Research shows that pedophiles are also reported at least seven times on average before adults take the reports of abuse seriously and act on them.
.. a symptom of a much deeper cultural problem — the unwillingness to speak the truth against one’s own community.
.. The result of putting reputation and popularity ahead of girls and young women?
.. extending or removing the statute of limitations on criminal and civil charges related to sexual assault, and strengthening mandatory reporting laws
.. Predators rely on community protection to silence victims and keep them in power. Far too often, our commitment to our political party, our religious group, our sport, our college or a prominent member of our community causes us to choose to disbelieve or to turn away from the victim.
.. Fear of jeopardizing some overarching political, religious, financial or other ideology — or even just losing friends or status — leads to willful ignorance of what is right in front of our own eyes, in the shape and form of innocent and vulnerable children.