#Me Too Continues: R Kelly and Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar awaits his sentencing at his hearing on February 5, 2018 in Eaton County Court, Michigan

The #MeToo movement, fired up in 2016, has had two crucial events contribute to it recently. Allegations against singer R. Kelly and Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the United States Women’s National Gymnastics Team, have come to light. Both have been convicted, and there are many factors in both cases that make it so important to the whole #MeToo movement.

Larry Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison in 2017, and an additional 175 years in Michigan State Prison after pleading guilty to seven accounts of sexual abuse. Over 150 victims spoke at his sentencing, all directly facing their abuser. Often their abuse happened at early ages, making their claims at the time invalid to many of the adults that they trusted would believe them.

R. Kelly was found guilty of the following charges: sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, racketeering and sex trafficking involving five victims. Allegations have been made against the singer for 25 years. His sentencing will take place in May, but he could be sentenced from anywhere from 10 years to life.

Both men had allegations made against them for over 20 years. Victims that were abused continued to be placed in a position with a predator. Many of them who came forward were not taken seriously due to factors such as age and race. Young girls made up almost all of the victims in Nassar’s case, while black women and girls made up the majority of the victims in Kelly’s case.

The sentences that the abusers face gives validity and closure to many of the victims involved.
In the Nassar case, many of the gymnasts abused say that they were “intimidated by his powerful status,” and it was painful to watch other athletes go through the same abuse that they did. However, taking away Nassar’s power has given them strength as survivors and will hopefully encourage others to stand up against the people above them who abuse the power that they are granted.

For both men, corrupted systems of people in power—the music industry and USA gymnastics—allowed them to gain the power they ultimately acheived. Knocking down the positions that these men held allows for victims to be built up and give others the chance to speak out, with the hope that more accusations will be believed and supported. Although there is still clearly much work to be accomplished in both cases, the charges placed against Kelly and Nassar—both who were once seen as dominant in their fields—ultimately propels the #MeToo movement.

Lily Schultz ’22

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