SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - After an emotional and gut-wrenching week of listening to victim statements, a judge in Michigan sentenced disgraced doctor, Larry Nassar, to 40 to 175 years in jail, which in her words, signed his death warrant.
More than 150 girls and women who felt they were silenced when they tried to speak up about the sexual assault decades ago made sure their voices were heard.
Nassar, who was a team physician for USA Gymnastics as well as Michigan State University, would molest the girls under the guise of medical treatment.
You don't have to be a parent to be sickened by the stories that were told in the courtroom, but, as a parent last week's events raise a difficult question: How, as a parent, do you shelter your children from the evils of the world and, at the same time prevent them from being ignorant and naïve?
It's a difficult question with no easy answers. I went to a good friend of mine who is both a mother of two girls and a child psychiatrist and asked her for her thoughts.
She says as a parent she likes to tell her kids that people, in general, are good and that the adults in their lives are here to protect them. But she also knows, through her work as a psychiatrist that kids are often exploited by adults in power, much like Nassar did to his victims.
She says we need to tell our kids that it is okay to step away from a situation at the first sign of alarm to make sure something bad doesn't happen. In our culture, girls are too hesitant to speak up if someone makes them uncomfortable, be it a gym teacher, babysitter, doctor or relative. We need to embolden them to trust their intuition.
Consider this: We all know there is evil out there lurking at every corner. We as parents and responsible adults must do all we can to be engaged in our children's lives and protect them the best we can. But, more importantly, we must listen when they tell us something is not right. We cannot and should not ever have to witness again what those 156 survivors of Larry Nassar bravely related in that Michigan courtroom.