From the Basement: a downfall of olympic proportions

From the Basement: a downfall of olympic proportions

From the Basement is a weekly column in which The Hullabaloo Sports team discusses its opinion on contemporary sports issues.

Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was renowned and beloved by many for his work for decades. For more than 20 years, Nassar stood at the side of athletes for three Olympic showings. In a matter of days, this seemingly stable reputation fell apart in Michigan’s Ingham County Courthouse.

Jordyn Wieber was the fourth of five women from the 2012 Summer Olympics team to come forward and accuse Nassar of sexual abuse. In breaking her silence, she continued to expand Nassar’s lengthy narrative of abuse. Wieber alluded to the fact that Nassar held this daunting power over the female athletes for almost a decade, and that the athletes affected by his abuse were systematically shunned into silence.

She would not, however, allow for this to continue any longer, and the 22-year-old athlete is forcing the “patriarch” to own up to his choices and mistakes. With this and more than 100 other powerful testimonies, the tables have truly turned, and the women who were once powerless at the hands of Nassar have now taken the upper hand.

With the coming and passing of the Women’s March and the rise of the “Me Too” movement, this tragedy sheds further light on women’s empowerment. These brave athletes chose to stand up and speak out against abuse, refusing to be silenced by fear any longer. Even in the face of oppression and male supremacy, this case has set a positive precedent of self-advocacy.

Women across the globe are now more than ever refusing to be manipulated and silenced by an overarching male presence. 2018 has already proven to be turning the tides on the balance of power between genders. Thus, the testimonies made in this case prove to be a continuance of the overwhelming rejection of gender inequality, oppression and abuse.

Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who has been presiding over the Nassar case, said that each woman affected by this event is a survivor and that they are no longer captive to Nassar’s “power.” Words such as these have been the anthem driving women in the past months, and it is finally creating positive change in stepping toward true equality.

This case should serve as an initial wake-up call for female athletes. These women should be empowered to speak out against abuse they have endured in athletic endeavours. The “Me Too” movement and other campaigns against abuse have rattled numerous sectors of society, but the sports world has yet to come forth in this regard. The testimonies made in the Larry Nassar case prove these women are not only facing the same maltreatment as those in Hollywood and politics, but also that they are willing to use their voices to achieve the same end-game — the fall of the patriarchy.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Carrigan and Grant are freshmen at Newcomb-Tulane College. They can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]

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