Two things from this article I wanted to comment on:
People always ask me what I think should have happened to Youssefi. Years in prison? Intensive counseling?
Even after all my reporting, I’m still not sure.
But I do know one thing: When Dodd told her school counselor about Youssefi, I hadn’t started taking gymnastics yet. If the prosecutor then had decided to charge Youssefi, maybe he never would have become my coach.
This is why we have to do better. This is why it’s important that these claims are investigated, because even if there isn’t a prosecution, we need to make people aware that these things are going on with people in these positions.
Having her case dropped again hit Dodd hard, Newton said. “Every time she brought herself to a place to be able to confront this, to be able to be honest about it, to voice what happened, and then nothing was done, I think the weight just grew. And then, you know, ultimately Jeanna’s death.”
Now, having said that yes, we need to do better, we also need to understand how much the justice system depends on a lot of things going right. Sometimes, there really won’t be enough proof to convince a jury, or other victims won’t come forward, or someone within the system will fail a victim. It happens, as much as we don’t want it to. So while we should be doing what we can to improve all of those things, we also need to make sure that we are doing what needs to be done to help survivors heal regardless of what happens within the justice system. Jeanna Dodd struggled all of her adult life because of her abuse, yes. But also because she never got the help she needed to heal. I’m on record as saying that we need to separate healing from justice. Healing can happen regardless of the justice system’s outcome, and making sure victims get the support they need to heal should be a priority.