Several women stood before Congress on Tuesday to testify against abuse in U.S. gymnastics. Jamie Dantzscher and Jessica Howard testified against Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually abused them. He is currently being held without bond in Michigan as he faces charges of child pornography. The two women hope that the U.S. Congress will propose a bill that requires sex-abuse reporting in Olympic sports.

Statements and statistics

Jessica Howard is a rhythmic gymnast who has won the national championship three times. Jamie Dantzscher is the bronze medalist honored from the 2000 Olympics.

Both women revealed to Congress on Tuesday their own individual testimonies of abuse they endured while pursuing their dreams.

Dantzscher was moved to tears as she spoke about being molested by her doctor when she was only 12. She stated that he referred to abusing her as medical treatment. The pain she suffered from him continued during the 2000 Summer Games at Sydney. She was given her bronze medal there.

Howard mentioned that all USA Gymnastics cares about is the fame and money that comes with the medals. She implied that the wellbeing of the athletes isn’t the organization’s top priority. "USA Gymnastics failed its most basic responsibility to protect the athletes under its care," Dantzscher said while crying.

Despite Congress knowing that two women have come forth to spread awareness, statistics show that they are only a small percentage to the emotional trauma that is really going on.

Reports cited from the Indianapolis Star show more than 360 cases of gymnasts accusing their overseers of sexual misconduct over the past 20 years. More than 100 of them have accused Dr. Larry Nassar of sexual abuse between 1996 and 2015. Though he has denied any wrongdoing, he still faces several charges related to criminal sexual conduct.

“I thought I was the only one,” Dantzscher said.

“I was disbelieved and even criticized by some in the gymnastics community for bringing this disturbing issue to light. Now I know I am not alone. More than 100 women have come forward and shared stories that are shockingly similar to mine.”

The bill to save humanity

Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) will be cosponsoring the bill. It would make it illegal for national governing bodies to fail to report child Sexual Abuse to child welfare or law enforcement.

She is one of 16 cosponsors of the bipartisan bill seeking to extend the statute of limitations in these cases.

This bill also comes because of the scandal that led to Steve Penny’s resignation as the USA Gymnastics President. Penny is the co-defendant in the lawsuit filed by Dantzscher accusing Nassar of sex abuse. There will also be proposed changes to the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports as well.

"They failed to take action against coaches, trainers and other adults who abused children," Dantzscher told the Senate. "And they allowed Dr. Nassar to abuse Young Women and girls for more than 20 years."

U.S. Olympic Committee official Rick Adams also testified. The committee’s chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), criticized USA Gymnastics for refusing to do the same.

Eric Olsen, commonwealth’s attorney in Stafford County, Virginia, stated that mandatory reports of any child abuse allegations are a positive step towards improvement. He made a prominent step himself towards the betterment of humanity when he said before the Congress, “Abuses aren’t going to report themselves.”

Tuesday’s meeting with the Senate will always be a walk for everyone involved to remember.

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