Sexual Assault: What do recent events say about gender equality?

Jackie Tsontakis's picture

In recent news, we have seen several sexual assault cases come up, with Larry Nassar's case affecting Michigan specifically. Nassar was a doctor in the state of Michigan and had several pateints at Michigan State University. Nassar was found to be guilty of sexually assaulting over 150 girls during their treatments. He was seen to be a trusted expert in the field, and now will be remembered as one of the worst cases of a sexual predator in history. This case hits close to home for many, as Nassar was a doctor in Michigan. However, anyone can relate to this case, as we all would like to be able to trust doctors. This case brings up so many questions regarding who we can trust. Nassar was the one making the rules for USA gymnastics to protect girls from this type of assault, meanwhile, he was the criminal all along. This case also brings up several questions when we think about who should be held responsible, besides the predator, in sexual assault allegations.

Michigan State University is currently experiencing turmoil as a result of the Nassar case. The president, Lou Anna Simon, has resigned. Attorneys are still questioning how Michigan State handled this case. Shelly Applebaum is Michigan State's executive associate athletic director overseeing "gender equity, diversity, governance and strategic planning initiatives." MSU has been accused of allowing Nassar to see patients while sexual assault investigation was occuring. Should Applebaum be held responsible for not handling the assaults occurring on campus? Several sexual assault cases have historically been "swept under the rug" for various reasons. Whose job is it to help the victim's voice be heard? When the victim is a woman, do you think their voice isn't heard as loudly? How does this issue relate to gender equality, and how can we bridge the gap?