The gymnasts who heroically confronted Larry Nassar over sexual assault are fighting for a bill to protect other survivors.

Studies have shown that children who were sexually abused normally wait until the ages of 48 to 52 to report their abuse.

In order to account for this, 37 states introduced legislation to extend the amount of time sexual abuse victims can file lawsuits against their abusers and organizations that have covered up the abuse in 2019.

But in the state of Texas, the language in a new bill, which would increase the amount of time victims of abuse can take legal action against organizations that covered up abuse was surprisingly removed.


Not everyone is having it.

Jordan Schwikert, Alyssa Baumann and Tasha Schwikert, three of the gymnasts who accused Larry Nassar of sexual abuse and USA Gymnastics of covering up that abuse, want the language to return.

They appeared in front of aTexas Senate committee to make sure future generations are protected in ways that they weren't.

“I decided to testify today because I wanted to make sure that what happened to me and my sister never happens again," Schwikert said.

In the state of Texas, those who were sexually abused as children can file a lawsuit against their alleged abuser and the organization involved for up to15 years after they turn 18, or the age of 33. House Bill 3809 would raise the statute of limitations to 30 years after they turn 18, or the age of 48.

However, the law was amended, removing organizations from the longer statute of limitations. And yes, there was a reason for it. "Sexual assault is not something organizations do, it's what individuals do," said Rep. Craig Goldman who both introduced and amended the legislation. "Any employer in the state can employ somebody and not know that they have done this in their past."

But the point of the law isn't to punish organizations who don't know what their employees are doing behind closed doors. It's to prevent organizations from covering up abuse, thus allowing it to continue.

Under the law, victims would still have to provide evidence that the organization covered up their abuse.

The bill passed in the House by 143-0, but now there's a move to restore the bill to its original language. “Texas lawmakers have a moral duty to allow survivors like myself to hold everyone who played a role in the abuse accountable," Schwikert said. “Exempting institutions creates a world in which the cycle of abuse can continue. It's not enough to just hold abusers accountable — we must also look at the institutions and what they failed to do."

Photo by Anthony Lanzilote/Getty Images

This bill needs to become law.

In case you need a reason as to why this is important, Larry Nassar is currently doing time for child pornography and sexual assault. He was accused of sexually assaulting 265 women while pretending it was medical treatment. It's all sorts of messed up that he got away with it for as long as he did.

Hopefully, we won't have another Larry Nassar in the future, thanks in part to the brave gymnasts who are willing to speak out and to fight for the rights of others.

Photo by RENA LAVERTY/AFP/Getty Images

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less