In January of 2018, Dr. Larry Nassar found himself sequestered in an
emotionally charged courtroom where he was finally forced to sit, faceto-
face with the 140, yes you read that right, one hundred and forty
woman and young girls that he had sexually molested, under the guise
of “treating” his “patients.” He was finally forced to listen to these
brave women. And speak they did. One after the other, they boldly
stood just feet away from their worst nightmare where they not only
confronted him, but more importantly they did battle with their own
fears. His once impotent, silent victims were now speaking louder than
he could have ever imagined and they were doing it in front of a
worldwide audience of millions.
Court Footage captured tears on many faces, including Dr. Nassar’s.
During his sentencing he was allowed to make a short statement:
“…Your words.. have shaken me to my core.” – Nassar.
Many have called him a heartless monster, most have deemed him
unworthy of even death, concluding that death would be a way too
easy “out” for this awful man. They would rather he spend the rest of
his days tortured and miserable, rotting away in a prison somewhere.
Unfortunately, that emotionally based response, while reasonable and
even understandable, shows a total lack of understanding as it relates
to abuser and especially abusers who prey on younger victims in a
sexual manner. What the facts show us is that victims who are not
treated, counseled, or helped in some way are actually at risk of
becoming abusers themselves.
I don’t believe that anyone consciously wakes up and decides to
commit mass murder or to rape a passing stranger. It’s truly this simple:
Hurt people hurt people. Mercy, sympathy and kindness are foreign,
usually because these people were deprived of the same in their
darkest hours of need. In those hours where their innocence was being
stripped from them, most likely by the dark past of still another grieving
soul, both sides fates were being sealed. Victim and abuser; both hurt
and both hurting.
Being molested, sometimes repeatedly could easily crush a person’s
spirit, now imagine, on top of that, also being called a liar. How soul
crushing must that have been? I can hardly imagine the damage that
must have done to these young girls. But the injustice doesn’t end
there. As it turns out, USA Gymnastics was made aware of this man’s
behavior, but for some yet to be discovered or disclosed reason, they
took a staggeringly underwhelming five years to address these horrible
accusations leveled against one of their own high-profile employees.
We can all understand the victims anger with this malfeasance.
How many decades was this man allowed access to an almost endless
supply of young girls, because of the pride or cowardice of an entire
organization? Unfathomable. And to learn that sometimes even the
parents remained silent. Stop for a second and think about the horror
of you, as a parent of one of these young girls, doing nothing. That
would have been bad enough but now think about the fact that some
of these parents even delivered their children into the hands of this
abuser. How do they live with that on their shoulders?
Now, bear with me as I ask the unpopular question: who first abused
Larry Nassar? Did he have available help? Was counseling offered?
Was he protected as we all hope to protect our loved ones?
Was he offered help to get over his trauma? Who offered to help
navigate and try to heal the brokenness in his soul that ultimately
turned him into this horrendous abuser now in his orange prison
jumpsuit and shackles?
I feel that we, as the responsible adults, have no choice but to take the
initiative and dare to look into the past to determine when this awful
seed of abuse was first planted. If we, as parents could educate
ourselves and step beyond our sense of pride and instead of hiding in
shame, step forward in boldness and seek help for our children, how
much lower could the abuse rate be?
If we are to hit this crisis head on and are honestly seeking a solution, it
will be important to understand what unresolved pain Larry Nassar, as
well as the famous movie producer and the infamous politician
experienced before their demons were released on their unsuspecting
and wholly innocent victims.
It is important for victims and perpetrators to become involved in
counseling and/or healing programs as soon as possible for their own
healing and future happiness. Healing can prevent sexual abuse from
being passed on to the next generation whether it be as perpetrator or
victim of the abuse. It is equally important to remember that
forgiveness is not for the sake of the perpetrator. Forgiveness is the
victims alone. It is what allows the victim to move on with their lives.
Forgiveness fights mortal combat with the guilt, shame and ultimately
the rage a victim feels. The danger to the victim is that the physical
abuse might have been arrested, chocked deep down inside, but
without forgiveness the mental and emotional torment will go on for
decades, with some victims carrying this pain to their graves.
Author: Tina Konkin
For over 32 years, Tina has been helping heal the broken-hearted through her powerful story of abuse and abandonment. She is the Founder and Director of Newport Beach-based R3 Lifeline and facilitates the organization’s acclaimed Relationship Lifeline and Couples Retreat. Tina has facilitated hundreds of seminars for youth, adults, couples, and families. The breakthroughs she has helped individuals achieve have made her a sought-after speaker for women’s groups, conferences, churches, and businesses across the U.S. and Canada, as well as overseas. She has shared her unique insights and perspectives on numerous radio and television programs, including: Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Real Housewives of Orange County, Today, and the Dr. Phil Show.