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USA Gymnastics Silenced Gymnasts for Years

Alexandra Schmertz, Writer

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The sexual abuse scandal involving former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar dominated the media for the past several months. Ever since more and more accusations emerged, Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, which followed after over 150 women spoke publicly about their abuse during a hearing lasting seven days. However, in those hearings, the women spoke about more than just the crimes that Nassar committed and what he was convicted of and sentenced for. Many of them also called out USA Gymnastics and accused them of keeping the victims silent after coming forward with their stories. One of those many women accusing USA Gymnastics of silencing her was McKayla Maroney, who was not present during the hearing but instead, had her attorney share her speech. Maroney filed a lawsuit in December that USA Gymnastics paid her to stay silent about the abuse and to not come forward.  The Washington Post states that the organization also forced the women to see Nassar for pelvic exams and in most cases, he would “examine” them in their hotel rooms at night, alone.

Aly Raisman, another USA Olympic gymnast, is also arguing that USA Gymnastics is responsible for the abuse of the women and stated in the same article from the Washington Post that “I had to see him. There was no choice, because if you didn’t, then it would be reported that we didn’t see him – and if you had a bad practice the next day, we’d get in trouble for not being ‘disciplined’ and not getting treatment from him.” Raisman also explains that she was only a child when these exams would take place, therefore, the women did not realize that what Nassar was doing was wrong. Raisman argues that the adults, USA Gymnastics, who were fully aware of these exams, should have stopped these visits and had them happen in a medical room with a door open, not in a hotel room, late at night, unsupervised.

Now the question is: should USA Gymnastics be held more accountable for keeping the gymnasts silent? After the hearing took place and 150 women spoke out, the entire USA Gymnastics board resigned. These were adults who were fully aware of the situation and never did anything to stop it. So the answer is yes. They should be held more accountable for their actions and in their part of silencing young girls who have been abused. Instead of making these treatments mandatory, the adults in the situation should have been more responsible and had the examinations take place in a medical environment, rather than in a hotel bed. USA Gymnastics should not be able to take the easy way out and resign, they should be held just as accountable as Larry Nassar.

 

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Alexandra Schmertz, Writer

Allie Schmertz is currently a senior at New Milford High School and this is her first year writing for The Lance. She’s been playing volleyball for NMHS...

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USA Gymnastics Silenced Gymnasts for Years