Hugging women is okay, abusing them is not


Photo credit: Jaime Munoz

Another man in power has been accused of sexual assault, USA gymnast team doctor Larry Nassar. This time 150 women came out accusing Nassar of sexually assaulting them as minors when they would go to see the doctor for treatment. In court, Nassar wrote in an open letter that these accusations were just made up fabrications and were being sensationalized by the media.

In my opinion, these are not “fabrications” nor just another scandal, as the media has made it out to be. It is a serious matter that is, sadly, all too familiar.

As of late, headlines have consisted of yet another man being accused of sexual assault and skeptics follow, who label these accusations as made up stories or refer to women coming out against their abusers as a “witch hunt.”

This hostile environment is what keeps women down and does not provide them with the support they need in order to have the courage to speak up.

These accusations are serious enough that the women are in court seeking justice and peace for themselves. Comments like Nassar’s, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” is what keeps other women silent and scared to come out and be labeled as crazy or even asked if there was any way they asked for it.

Behind the headlines are actual women traumatized by these events and the aftermath it brings. Donna Markham, mother of a victim, blamed Nassar’s sexual abuse for her daughter’s suicide in 2009. Many women spoke about depression, suicidal thoughts and loss of their childhood that came after abuse.

Labeling these accusations as a witch hunt or headlines that read “Is Hugging Women OK” adds to this patriarchy that keeps women scared of men in power, who are abusing that power. Instead, headlines should be encouragement or support for these women who have finally raised the courage to take their abusers to court in search of justice.

Nicte Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.