EAST LANSING - In what is considered to be the most historical moment at the ESPY Awards, more than 140 survivors of former Michigan State University and Team U.S.A. Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar were honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards on July 18, 2018. The women held hands as Aly Raisman, Tiffany Thomas Lopez and Sarah Klein accepted the award on behalf of the hundreds of women who were sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.
Klein, who said she was Nassar’s first victim 30 years ago, shamed the United States Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University for placing “money and medals above the safety of child athletes.” She also praised Detective Lt. Andrea Munford from the Michigan State Police Department and Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis for prosecuting Nassar and “finally putting our abuser away for life.”
Klein spoke about the grueling and painful process of survivors telling their story time and time again only to be silenced, judged and sacrifice their privacy. However, she said it’s worth it if it helps another survivor.
“If we can just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it,” Klein said. “If one more victim of sexual abuse feels less alone tonight, then our suffering has meaning.”
Raisman praised Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who was in attendance, for giving survivors the opportunity to speak their truth and “for honoring our voices” after years of being ignored. She said this “tragedy” could have been avoided had someone listened to them.
“Predators thrive in silence,” Raisman said. “All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar. If just one adult had listened, believed and acted, the people standing before you on this stage would have never met him.”
The women, who call themselves “sister survivors,” embraced one another as people in the crowd wiped away tears and Raisman left them and everyone watching with a few last words.
“To all the survivors out there, don't let anyone rewrite your story,” Raisman said. “Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone. We may suffer alone, but we survive together.”
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