Earlier this month, one of the biggest stories covered by the media surrounded Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics national team doctor and an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University, being found guilty for several charges of sexual assault.

Following his conviction and sentencing, his defense lawyer, Shannon Smith told Detroit radio WWJ that she “had a hard time believing” her client abused hundreds of young girls and women.

I hate to break it to you, Shannon Smith, but he did in fact abuse hundreds of young girls and women.

Her claims went as far as saying that she believed that many of the girls were simply “confused” and had never suffered any abuse at the hands of her client. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that victims have been doubted when dealing with sexual misconduct and abuse. Many assault victims know victim blaming and victim shaming all too well.

That being said, victim blaming and shaming can actually make a woman believe that she was never assaulted, or that her case won’t stand in court, causing the victim to drop the charges or to never report the assault in the first place.

In fact, 68% of sexual assaults go unreported to police. In addition, 98% of offenders never see the inside of a jail cell.

Nassar’s defense attorney also claimed that Nassar’s victims might have simply mistaken routine medical procedures. However, any “routine” medical procedure that involved invasive touching would require parental guardian approval. Smith added that Nassar’s case should serve as a warning to other doctors because they need to “protect” themselves “from false allegations.”

News flash: Nassar’s case should serve as a warning to other doctors who abuse their privilege and medical license to take advantage of young girls and women.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, you do not have to suffer in silence.

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673