Morgan McCaul is so much more than just a “Nassar Survivor.” She is a dancer, student, advocate, organizer, sadly allergic to cats, friend, daughter, girlfriend, teacher, intern, changemaker. At almost 20 years old, she has experienced more than I wish upon anyone. Imagine your first year of college. What were you doing? Morgan has been fighting for justice in court, and for change at Michigan State University and in the Michigan legislature. Morgan is one of over 300 “sister survivors” of Larry Nassar‘s abuse and the systemic failure of the sports industry – at the junior, collegiate, and national levels – to protect athletes against sexual abuse and predation. She shares her experience and the ways that we can help in this week’s episode.
This episode does contain descriptions of and references to child sexual abuse and molestation. While I hope that everyone listens, as her story and the stories of the other 300 should be heard, I recognize this may be tough for some of you. Please do what you need to for your own self-care. Know that there are resources available through RAINN.org and the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.
The notes below are sparse because the interview is a must-listen. However, there are lots of articles and videos below for further information. The audio gets a little weird at times because Ms. Morgan is located in the hinterlands of Michigan and her internet was spotty. It’s not frequent but does happen from time to time.
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Additional Show Notes:
- Morgan started dancing really young. Her parents used dance as a way to motivate her for potty training.
- Bobbi-Sue tells a story about being put into tap class and Irish jigs.
- Morgan danced until she graduated high school. She tells Bobbi-Sue about the options for careers in dance.
- In middle school, Morgan tore both hip flexors by doing some crazy french named move. It pushed her off of the professional dance path.
- That injury is what put her in Larry Nassar’s grasp.
- There are now over 300 women who have come forward. 20 years ago was when women first started complaining about Nassar to MSU and they did nothing.
- Morgan came forward with her status as a Nassar Survivor in November of 2017. She has grown a lot in the past year and found a voice.
- The women have a strong support network among them. They use technology as a way to reach out to one another and talk about their experiences, issues, etc.
- There was a lot of good that came from the victim impact statements and the way Judge Aquilina handled the sentencing.
- Morgan says she has changed a lot in the last two years. She had to grow up a lot and has become an activist.
- Her activism regarding MSU is in the hopes that someone is held accountable for their failure in the mishandling of the reports. In addition, she has helped push legislation in the Michigan state legislature to address a lot of the issues that caused this situation.
- Morgan talks about Global Sports Development and the educational initiatives to prevent systemic failures in sport related to sexual abuse. Oh, and she also got an award and got to go to a fancy thing.
- She was pre-med entering college and is now pre-law, and she wants to be a sex-crimes prosecutor. She’s currently doing an internship with Gretchen Whitmer‘s gubernatorial campaign.
- Self-Care: Sleep, time with loved ones
- “I remember the first time that he molested me so clearly because it hurt in such a different way than I was used to in an appointment with him.”
- “When I think back about it I get sick because I am sure that when I was shadowing him I watched other girls get abused or assaulted in front of me and I didn’t even realize it.”
- “It was really the seizure of his child pornography that woke me up and I still didn’t tell anybody for a really long time.”
- “I don’t think I was prepared for the tidal wave of emotion…”
- “I’m gonna tell you something but don’t get mad.” – How Morgan prefaced telling her mom
- “My mom’s reaction was exactly what I think a survivor needs when they disclose to someone.”
- “There is a power between us that is kind of difficult to explain … at the same time knowing that there are 300 women who have come forward with the same exact experience as me is disgusting. It makes me nauseous and it’s upsetting. It should not have been that way. There should not be this many of us.”
- “It was a symbolic act of listening to a survivor testimony and acknowledging it and empowering it which does not happen very often in society. And certainly doesn’t happen in the court of law very often.”
- “And then, in that moment, to see Judge Aquilina, as you said, smack him down, it was almost like a sigh of relief. And It was that moment where we kind of left our pain all with Larry. And our shame all with Larry. And it was on him.”
- “I’d like to see one person be fired for mishandling the cases on MSU’s campus and the reports made to them. So far… no one has been removed…”
Follow the Leader:
Extra Credit Reading/Watching:
- “Morgan McCaul: From victim to survivor” (The Michigan Daily)
- “Survivor Morgan McCaul to call for structured sex assault policies at MSU” (The State News)
- Morgan McCaul Lashes out at Larry Nassar and MSU (YouTube)
- Nassar victim Morgan McCaul Speaks to MSU Board (YouTube)
- It felt like I was back in control’: Why dancer Morgan McCaul faced Larry Nassar in court” (CBC Radio)
- Morgan McCaul’s Statement (MSU College of Law International Law Review)
- Judge Aquilina Delivers Powerful Statement Before Sentencing Larry Nassar (Time via YouTube)
- The Transformative Justice of Judge Aquilina” (The Atlantic)
- Father John Misty’s website (if you’re curious)
- Video of Gretchen Whitmer declaring herself a survivor on the floor of MI Legislature (Facebook)
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