Last night on 60 Minutes one of the stories was about Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and her story of sexual abuse and inappropriate touching from the then Olympic doctor Larry Nassar.
Aly was a naïve young girl, and like many of her team mates and those before her, trusted Larry Nassar, even though he at times made her feel uncomfortable. My heart went out to her and to all the girls who have been affected by the inappropriate touching and sexual abuse. It erodes trust in people, in physicians and in humanity in general.
And it should. More importantly, trusting the wrong person can lead to a potentially negative and harmful impact on the victims for the rest of their lives.
And it’s not just girls that have to worry. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. Three of four instances of sexual abuse is by someone the victims know well.
Like all healthcare, both physical and mental, the best approach is prevention. That’s why one of my mottoes is, “It’s better to stay well than to get well.”
To that end I wrote a song called Inappropriate Touching as part of my HealthRock.com health literacy initiative. It’s intended for parents (or grandparents) to play so that kids can be forewarned that if someone is touching them in an area typically covered by their bathing suit, or makes them feel uncomfortable, it’s not OK. Say, “Stop,” and tell someone that same day.
It’s impossible to prevent all physical and mental health problem. But many women’s health issues start long before the symptoms manifest. Our intention has to be prevention!
Click here to listen to the song, Inappropriate Touching.