Toon & text by John Auchter
Larry Nassar, the doctor who worked with various women’s gymnastics programs including the Michigan State University team and USA Gymnastics, pleaded guilty this week to charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct with children under the age of 16. This is just a small portion of the charges that have been (and could be) brought against him, including further abuses and child pornography possession. It would be difficult to find anybody who would deny that Dr. Nassar is in every sense a sexual predator.
So there is some consensus. And we should try to remember this common ground because it gets very divisive, very quickly, when we go on to name the politicians, entertainers, executives, and media personalities whose indiscretions have recently come to light.
In an effort to defend those who we are inclined to support (and demonize those whom we would like to see suffer), it can go immediately off the rails. It turns into an ugly parlor game of “what’s worse?” Admitting or denying? Is one accuser enough? Is a dozen too many? How’s a random grab stack up against soliciting underage girls?
As a result, victims are either further exploited or dismissed. It muddies the waters, which helps only the guilty. I suggest we focus more on real justice and less on scoring points for a particular “side.” There have been men with power who have taken advantage of their power to sexually abuse women. It is in everybody’s best interest that they be held accountable for their actions.