The Power of #MeToo Stories | Villanova Magazine | Villanova University

The Power of #MeToo Stories

Voices from a panel at the 2018 Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law on the #MeToo movement in sports, and particularly on the impact of the testimony given by 150 survivors at the sentencing hearing for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar

Ann C. Juliano, professor of Law, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.

Ann C. Juliano

JD, Professor of Law, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

“#MeToo is the third phase of dealing with sexual wrongs, harassment, or crimes. The first phase in the ’70s was giving this a name and recognizing that it’s a wrong. The next phase was getting the courts to accept it as claims, and I think #MeToo is about finally ­having account­ability for what’s been going on. … You can’t say, ‘me, too,’ until someone said, ‘me.’ Someone has to be the person to come forward and say, ‘me.’ And what’s so powerful about our panel today is that we have that person who came forward and said, ‘me.’ ”

Larissa Boyce, former gymnast and survivor of convicted abuser Doctor Larry Nassar.

Larissa Boyce

Former gymnast and survivor of convicted abuser Dr. Larry Nassar

“I first came forward in 1997. The adults I trusted did not believe me. I was conditioned and brainwashed into believing that I was the problem. For 20 years, I truly believed that. … It wasn’t until (my lawyers) said they believed me that I allowed myself to start believing what had happened. … Unfortunately, we can’t turn back time, but we can learn from those experiences. We’ve witnessed a monu­mental change in history with the #MeToo movement, with the Larry Nassar case, and everybody having the courage to speak up and say, ‘This happened to me.’ If one person doesn’t do it, who’s going to do it? I always thought, ‘If I don’t speak up, who will?’”

Teresa M. Boyer, founding director, Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership.

Teresa M. Boyer

EdD, ’95 CLAS, Founding Director, Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership; Associate Professor, Education and Counseling, Villanova University

“It is not just about the individual’s behavior; it’s about what the system and our culture are allowing to happen. … Anyplace where you have that level of power differential and extreme trust, perpetrators will find a place they are protected. It really is painful for individuals to think that a system you have trusted is one which is actually harming you. … The sheer numbers of people who have felt that they can follow Ms. Boyce and say, ‘me, too’ and that we can then use that to finally change our system and hold people accountable within the system is what is inspiring to me.”

John Barr, investigative journalist, ESPN.

John Barr

Investigative Journalist, ESPN

“It took women like Larissa Boyce getting up in court and giving that gut-wrenching testimony for there really to be true accountability. And you want to talk about the power of the #MeToo movement? I don’t know of a better example of it than what we saw in those two criminal proceedings. … Everything changed when those women got up and spoke in court. It was so impactful.”

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