What Else Happened? Congress Tries to Prevent Another Larry Nassar

Regina Mahone & Kat Jercich

This week on What Else Happened?, Rewire managing editors Kat Jercich and Regina Mahone discuss a troubling report on Airbnb, the fight against sterilization abuse in Washington state, and new legislation to combat sexual abuse of athletes. Also, Kat chats with writer and activist Raquel Willis about a supermarket chain’s refusal to provide insurance coverage for a life-saving drug.

An edited excerpt:

Kat: Larry Nassar’s in court again. He was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison last week in Ingham County, and now he’s facing sentencing for more assault charges in Eaton County. More than 60 girls and women are expected to give victim impact statements.

Regina: All this raises a bigger question, too. It seems clear that Nassar wasn’t acting alone. The president of Michigan State University, where Nassar was a doctor, resigned last week. All of the USA Gymnastics board also resigned. This reinforces what we know about rape culture: that it’s rarely a matter of one person, acting alone. How can situations like this be prevented in the future?

Kat: Right. Not to use a weird gardening metaphor, but if you’re pulling weeds, you can’t just stop at one and hope for the best. It seems like in the Nassar case, there’s at least some commitment to weeding out the people who kept someone like that in power. But as for preventing it next time, one thing that I’d totally missed this week amid all the other news from Washington is the fact that Congress passed a bill on Monday that requires governing bodies for amateur athletics—things like university and Olympic teams—to immediately report abuse claims to law enforcement.

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Transcript (PDF)