It’s been less than a month since Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, was sentenced 40 to 175 years in prison, but it seems we’re still scratching the surface of what, how, and why such an abuse of power happened on such a large scale. HuffPost journalist Alanna Vagianos wrote one of the first pieces on Nassar’s abuse to gain traction, asking why no one was paying attention to the case. At time she published her piece, there were 140 victims. Today there are over 265. As Vagianos points out, the lack of media coverage around the case is disappointing, especially when taking into account the number of victims: Nassar abused more victims than Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby, and Harvey Weinstein combined.
As my colleague Cory Stieg wrote last month, the Nassar case just scratches the surface. “The rot extends beyond one predator or even one sport — it's the product of a broken system, one that unwittingly grooms young girls to stay silent and bow to the will of their superiors.”
Vagianos echoed this sentiment when she sat down with me in The Ladies Room, our weekly Facebook live show, to talk about why it took so long for this case to get the public’s attention (hint: because, gymnastics), and how there are many other stories like this out there (like the one she just exposed focused on USA Swimming cover ups of hundreds of sexual abuse cases).
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).