CBS News Video
Gymnast Larissa Boyce said she was 16 in 1997 when she complained to MSU coach Kathie Klages that she suspected Nassar was abusing her.
“Kathie came back in the room with just me at this point, and said, ‘Well, I can file something, but there’s going to be very serious consequences for both you and Dr. Nassar,” she said. “And I said, ‘Well, I don’t want to get anybody in trouble.’ I just felt humiliated. I felt silenced. I felt embarrassed.”
~ CBS News, 1/28/2018
The news President Lou Anna Simon resigned popped on in my social media. I was shocked and clicked in to see what’s going on as Michigan State University is my Alma Mater. I was even more shocked to know that Dr. Nassar, the perpetrator who sexually abused so many young girls, was part of the MSU previous.
As I read through Dr. Simon’s resignation statement, I can feel my blood boiling up when I read this paragraph.
“To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.”
Once again, I want to loudly ask this question: what does a perpetrator look like? It’s time for us to evaluate the myth about a perpetrator. We often assumed a perpetrator looks like a robber who looks unkept and lives a low life. However, a perpetrator is a person who abused his power on the victims.
I also want to focus on another myth about sexual assault here: “Who caused the trouble?”
From this video, Ms. Boyce said that the coach told her that “Well, I can file something, but there’s going to be severe consequences for both you and Dr. Nassar.” At this point, I can feel my blood boiling inside again.
It reminds me what I often heard in the therapy room, something like this:
“My mom was furious at me when protective service showed up in front of our house. After the perpetrator was removed from the home, my mom was very upset at me and said that our family was torn apart because of me.”
(p.s. This is not a direct statement quote from any of my clients specifically but a summary of what they often shared with me similar to something like this.)
You might say: “how can a mother do that?” The problem is this former Coach (Ms.Klages) was doing the same thing to Ms. Boyce. Yes, just like in the family system, many people will get into series consequences, but that’s not the victim’s responsibility! By telling the victim something like this, you are telling the victim to make the decision as to whether she should sacrifice herself for everyone involved, including the coach!
Sexual abuse/assault itself is a serious violation of the victim’s mind, body, and soul. It’s the perpetrator who disrupts everyone’s life, not the victim. I have heard from so many victims who blamed themselves. The victims who reported the assault blaming themselves for interrupting the system (family, work, school, etc.). The victims who didn’t report blamed themselves for not saying something sooner. Either way, our society is making the victims believe they are the ones to be blamed.
However, when the system allows the perpetrators to continue to abuse the victims, the whole system and the perpetrators are to be blamed, not the victims.
We have to ask ourselves, are we giving the victims a choice to speak up or are we just too afraid to rock the system by telling them to make the decisions?
Are you 100% support the victims no matter what?
Who is the actual troublemaker? It is the perpetrator who is the troublemaker but why are we telling the victims that they bring the trouble to everyone if they make the report?