January 29, 2018

Nassar Case Demonstrates Why Sexual Abuse Victims Often Remain Silent

In light of the sexual assault scandal involving former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) called on the entire USA Gymnastics board to resign and the remaining members resigned over the weekend. Such gross negligence of duty demanded a clean sweep of the leadership at USA Gymnastics, which was long overdue, and there is still work to be done.

The Nassar case is a textbook demonstration of the social conditions that discourage disclosure of sexual abuse. As researchers have reported, many victims hesitate to come forward due to fear of not being believed or being disregarded in favor of the perpetrators’ denial. They fear being met with victim-blaming, ostracization, and being forced to leave the team. Many others fail to report due to a lack of evidence. As is all too clear in this case, USA Gymnastics met reports with indifference and failed to act.

Through their silence, inaction, and shocking indifference, USA Gymnastics was complicit for decades in the sexual abuse committed against countless women and girls by the now disgraced and convicted doctor, Larry Nassar. The testimonies given by over 160 of Larry Nassar’s victims are nothing short of harrowing, and given the gravity of their abuse, incredibly courageous.

None of the individuals involved in perpetuating this monstrous case of sexual abuse, whether directly or indirectly, should be rewarded with a position of authority. The USA Gymnastics Board members present during Larry Nassar’s ongoing abuse had a duty and responsibility to protect the young gymnasts entrusted to them, and they failed in a monumental way.

Their overdue resignation is another step toward creating a safe environment for future USA gymnasts, but much remains to be done to ensure the safety of young athletes.

 

Haley Halverson

Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach

Haley Halverson is the Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she develops and executes national campaigns to change policies and raise awareness. Most notably, she promotes corporate social responsibility by constructing annual activism campaigns like the Dirty Dozen List, which names 12 mainstream private companies that facilitate sexual exploitation. Her advocacy work has contributed to instigating policy improvements in the native online advertising, retail, and hotel industries.

Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males, and more. She has presented before officials at the United Nations, as well as at several national symposia before influencers from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Croatian government officials. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts at Johns Hopkins University.

Previously, Haley served for two years as Director of Communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she oversaw strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for Media Research Center. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) with a double major, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internships in the DC area.

Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Times, NBC’s The Today Show, BBC News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Voice of America, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The DeMaio Report, the New York Daily News, the Washington Examiner, USA Radio Network, the Washington Times, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, The Detroit News, Lifezette, The Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, EWTN News Nightly, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, The Drew Mariano Show on Relevant Radio, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

She has written op-eds for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, Townhall.com, Darling Magazine, the Daytona-Beach News Journal, and has been published in the Journal of Internet Law and the journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence.

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