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How much is a little girl worth?

“How much is a little girl worth?” asked Simone Biles, 4-time Olympic gold medalist (BBC), during an emotional testimony regarding the FBI’s mishandling of the Larry Nassar prosecution case. 

In the fall of 2016, The Indianapolis Star published an article entitled “Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Accused of Abuse” after a civil lawsuit and complaint were filed against Nassar by two of his former patients.

Since then, at least 150 people have come forward with sexual assault allegations against the former gymnastics doctor. Nassar was sentenced on Jan. 24, 2018 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to the sexual assault of several young girls.  

On Sep 15, 2021 Biles, along with former teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, testified before the Senate regarding the FBI investigation of Nassar and his accusations. 

In Biles’ testimony she reveals that USA Gymnastics was aware of her abuse long before she issued an official complaint. She states that she was never made aware of their knowledge.  As well as during her time in the 2016 Olympics, she was not contacted by the FBI or the USA Olympic committee, regarding the investigation until after the conclusion of the games. 

CNN broadcast of Simone Biles testimony for The Senate regarding the FBI’s mishandling of the Larry Nassar investigation.

The bravery that accusing and confronting not only their attacker but also The Senate is astounding and absolutely inspiring. In most cases the victims feel ashamed or scared to report their attack until it is too late. 

Although through the media more assault cases are being reported and trialed, there is still a lot more that needs to be done. In the Nassar case, it took months until action was taken, and this was a case where over a 100 girls reported an assault. 

Throughout this case we can also see the effects victim blaming can have on both a trial and its victims. When a prominent member of society, usually male, gets accused of sexual assault the public tends to assume that the accuser is “doing it for fame or attention”, but can you name any of the women that accused former President Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, or Harvey Weinstein? 

False accusations only account for 2-10 percent of accusations in the past 20 years, according to the BBC. 

Some people also make the assumption that the accuser is doing it to ruin the accused’s  reputation, but once again, when was the last time a male celebrity or prominent member of society was blacklisted or suffered a ruined reputation due to false accusations? (Yes, I understand that Nassar, Cosby, and Weinstein did suffer consequences for their actions, it wasn’t until much later in their lives that these consequences were enforced). Victims of sexual abuse feel scared that reporting their attack is pointless, and wont garner the conviction of their attacker. According to WCW, out of 100 cases only 19 will lead to an arrest, five to a guilty verdict through plea deal, and one through a trial by jury.

However, most victims live in fear of reporting their attack right away or receiving a rape kit. 

A Tiktok from the account @faerieyoongles , raising awareness to her campuses high percentage of sexual assaults. This video includes the hashtag #WhyIDidn’tReport, where victims express their reasons for not coming forward about their assaults.

Despite all of the controversy surrounding sexual assaults, one thing is clear. It needs to stop before it starts. Sexual assault prevention should be the top priority regarding these cases as most cases go unreported, and unsolved. 

We need to raise young men not with the mentality of ‘boys will be boys’, but as ones who respect others and ask for consent. Consent is key. ok

Yes, despite the popular and trending notion of hate all men, not all men commit acts of sexual assault and rape, and not only women are the victims of these crimes. From personal experience, I can vouch that attackers are not solely male. BUT statistics show that men are the primary perpetrators of this type of crime. “An estimated 91% of victims of rape & sexual assault are female and 9% male. Nearly 99% of perpetrators are male,” according to Stop Rape. 

It hurts my soul that we live in a world where young girls and boys are subjected to this cruelty, where parents live in fear of kidnappings or assaults, and in a world where young women are taught to prepare for the inevitable attack rather than teach youth not to commit them. 

So many times throughout my life have heard, ‘don’t walk alone at night’, ‘don’t go on runs with both earbuds in’, ‘say hi on walks so people remember you’, ‘check your backseat before driving’, ‘walk with your keys between your fingers’, ‘keep pepper spray on you’, and this, and this, and this. I’m sure most females reading this can relate to the never ending list of dos and don’ts. 

Is our worth as women still reliant on what our bodies can provide and achieve, on how many medals we can win? I want you to truly ponder the question, like really think about it, as the revolutionary Olympian Biles asked, “How much is a little girl worth?”

Isabella Bogo, Social Media Editor

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How much is a little girl worth?