Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of the United States, who has been disgraced and jailed for child pornography, is now accused of sexually abusing/assaulting approximately 150 (and counting) of the country’s top female gymnasts.
In ongoing testimonies, gymnasts described being overtly molested as girls by Nassar in his office; the abuse started when the girls were as young as six years old.
Here is what really gets me though: in a fair amount of cases, the girl’s mother was in the same room when this all took place, sitting mere feet away.
Despite this, the mothers “didn’t see” what was going on, “knew nothing” about it, encouraged their daughters to place Nassar on some kind of pedestal, and in many cases did not believe the children who tried to come forward to them (and in other cases, the girls said nothing, even though the mother had been present when it happened).
It is clear the onus of these heinous acts is squarely on Nassar, as the vile predator he is. However, to really understand how this could happen, we must look at the full context and continuum of dynamics that would allow such egregious abuse to take place over and over again while mysteriously “escaping” the notice of every single member of that community for so long.
More specifically, what does it say that so many girls in this “nice” community, of affluence, “success,” athleticism, and “good” American values:
1) had their own personal power outsourced at such a young age and their bodies—without caution, consent, or meaningful supervision—placed into the consuming, cruel hands of a false god such as Nassar;
2) felt so freaking out of touch with their own bodies they had no clue they were even being abused at the time it happened;
3) felt so much shame around their bodies and so disconnected and unseen by their own mothers that they felt powerless to speak up and have their feelings and words heard and taken seriously;
4) were literally unseen by their own mothers when this grotesque predation went down while they were in the same room;
5) were not taken seriously when they tried to speak up, and were rather discounted and silenced—including by their own families in some cases, who apparently took Nassar’s side.
If anyone still thinks this is in any way an isolated example, or limited to the world of gymnastics, you have not opened your eyes yet. This type of predation is everywhere.
I know, because it’s my story too—to the brutal, betraying T; except that more than a visit to the “doctor,” I called that environment home.
And all of this is not only painfully emblematic of the fact that there are predators at every echelon of our very ill society—including its highest office—but also deeply revealing of the complete Stockholm Syndrome of the “typical” American female/mother, who is so out of touch with her own power and body, so stripped bare of her own primordial roar and right to say “no,” and so infested with the addiction of selling herself and her children that she literally could not see her own daughter being sacrificed before her very eyes. Even if she could, she would override that knowing with denial, paralysis, and her own dis-ease.
And yes, Nassar should go to prison for the rest of his life, as should all like him.
But that is not enough to change this.
Women and especially mothers: we need to wake up.
No more of this slumber of denial and acquiescence to the path of least resistance in the face of sugar-coated evil. No more self deception and sycophantism and selling our daughters into the slavery of a sick system to try and make up for the approval we never received. No more revering doctors and lawyers and the Joneses as a force more powerful than ourselves, no more sacrificing our children to false gods and idols.
We are the goddess. And our daughters and sons need us, and they need us now.
They need us to advocate.
Get awake; be sharp and keen. Arm yourselves and your children with confidence, self-knowledge, and the right to say “no.” Do your self-work so that you can stand for them. Protect and advocate for their precious sacred boundaries so they learn to do so for themselves. Be fierce as f*ck, stand vigilantly for what is right, and roar as you are made to do.
This will not change without us.
We must all wake up.
Author: Sara Sophia Eisenman
Image: NBC/Video Still
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina