Sexual assault policies need change

Nassar’s case serves as reminder of abuse on campus

Amaia Barajas

Famed Michigan State University (MSU) and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was recently sentenced to 40-175 years in prison after more than 150 gymnasts accused him of sexual misconduct.

These assaults took place during routine physicals Nassar performed on gymnasts at Michigan State and Karolyi Ranch.

The number of victims coming forward is appalling. According to the New York Times, accusations had surfaced at MSU before victims started going to media outlets in 2016. Some victims claim to have come forward as early as 1990.

According to the same article, lawyers of 100 victims are questioning why MSU didn’t conduct a private, in-depth investigation. Instead of doing so they had a legal team, that worked for the school, with a bias towards protecting MSU’s reputation, investigate the accusations of sexual misconduct.

The way MSU acted after these accusation is a disgusting reminder of how sexaul assault is handled. Dozens of girls at MSU directly accused Larry Nassar, but MSU still didn’t actually start an investigation until the media started to get involved.

Only once it became public knowledge that there was a doctor who was sexually assaulting student athletes, did MSU start to take real notice. But they were almost too late, because the damage had already been done. While that may not have been their immediate intention, their lack of investigation sent a very strong message to the victims.

After the allegations by the victims of Nassar, lawmakers and prosecutors have called for the board President at MSU to resign. There have also been rumors of board member resignations at USA Gymnastics committee. While these resignations show remorse for the lack of investigation at MSU and the USA Gymnastics, it’s not going to fix anything.

Calling for the resignations of people who may or may not have something to do with covering Nassar isn’t going to help in the eyes of the victims. While these members resigning could help avoid other assaults like this from happening, what would actually help is a policy change.

If these organizations changed their policy on how they deal with sexaul assaults they could avoid the kind of prolonged assault that happened at their facilities.

Sexaul assault in sports and on college campuses is nothing new, and Nassar’s case is a reminder of what we need to do as a society to change how we react to these assaults. 

Policy changes are needed and executing of the policies are what will help prevent something like this from being carried out for so long.

If MSU had listened to the victims and reported it thoroughly they could’ve saved dozens of women from a lifetime of suffering at the hands of Nassar.