Those in authority shouldn’t ignore abuse

Victims of abuse need to know they have the support of those in a position to do something about it, should those victims find the courage to report what has been happening to them. Those who are more vulnerable — or feel even more dependent on a system such as, for example, a college’s athletics program or a religious organization’s hierarchy — should have an even stronger sense their voice will be heard.

Yet at Ohio State University, approximately 400 young men said they had been raising concerns about former university doctor Richard Strauss for nearly 20 years, with little action being taken. Even today, others who could have stopped Strauss’s sexual misconduct are only slowly being disciplined for their inaction.

Now, former OSU student health director Ted Grace has chosen to permanently surrender his Ohio medical license rather than face a hearing after a state medical board citation for alleged failure to stop Strauss.

Grace was cited for not reporting complaints and for falsely telling an Ohio State student there hadn’t been previous complaints about Strauss when that student reported being mistreated by the physician at the student health center in 1995.

Should the accusations against Grace be accurate, he is certainly not alone. Time and again we hear stories of abuse that could have been prevented had those in positions of authority simply chosen to value the wellbeing of victims over the inconvenience of standing up and doing what is right. It is easier to turn a blind eye and protect those who are established than to cause a fuss and shine a light on evil.

We’ve got to be better than that. Those who are seeking help must know they will find it. Those in positions to report — and stop — what is happening should never hesitate.


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