date of testimony: January 16th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
MS. SIEBERT: I want to first thank you for the opportunity. I think all of us really appreciate having the time and being able to be here today and be heard.
THE COURT: Thank you. It was only right and just that all of you have that opportunity, so I appreciate you being here. I know how difficult it is.
MS. SIEBERT: The first part of my statement is directed to Larry Nassar.
I often find myself wondering what you are thinking over all of these years, doing this to all of these people. Did you somehow convince yourself that we didn’t — that you weren’t hurting people?
That it wasn’t something tangible to you? That you weren’t seeing the damage, or did you very well know that you were hurting people and did not care?
I heard you say in your previous sentencing that you equated your choices to something like alcoholism. But alcohol is a thing and it does not have to consent. Most of us were very young and at a very vulnerable time in our lives. We did not choose to participate in what you did to us under the guise of something else.
The people you did this to are not weak people. They were and still are determined, proven mentally strong, and ambitious. Each one of us had a full life ahead of us and we are full of potential and possibilities.
This is one of the things that I find unique about this situation. You were considered the best, and as a result of that, everyone that saw you had the utmost potential. They came from loving, supporting families that were doing everything in their power to support them. These kids had dreams, the means to achieve them, and were fighting tooth and nail to reach them. They were the cream of the crop. What you did altered critical parts of our growth into being healthy adults. What you did has made us second-guess our own inner voice, our gut reactions, and our ability to have accurate perceptions of people.
You put massive obstacles in between us and greater happiness in our lives, having healthy romantic relationships, and having trust for others who truly want to — truly want to help us. You hindered the trajectories of our lives that we and our parents worked so very hard for and changed the rest of our lives in ways that we’re still realizing and dealing with every day.
This is what makes this crime so heinous, the cost is so high and the damage is complicated and impossible to measure.
You did this to countless human beings over decades. Most of our victims probably aren’t aware of everything you did and what you’re being held accountable for today. Not many people look up their doctors they saw 20 years ago or 15 or 10 or five years ago. I only found out because of a fluke. I often wondered what the number of victims really is.
The number of people whose lives you altered does not stop with the victims. It has also impacted the people closest to us in our lives. We have no choice but to watch them suffer from this too. Our mothers and fathers who wanted the best for us, our spouses and partners, our friends, all of us with so many people, for what?
More recently the price that the bravest of us had to have paid to get this out in the open.
They’ve had to publicly attach you and what you did to them to their names. Every time someone Googles them, possibly for the rest of our lives, they will see the sickening things we’re talking about here today; when they apply for a job, when they go on a first date. They won’t be able to be the ones to fully make the choice on when to talk to their kids about what happened to them. This terrible part of their past is exposed to all. In spite of this, they have spent so much time and energy to get to this day and prevent this from happening to others. The strength of character that these people have shown is in stark contrast to who you’ve shown yourself to be.
To each and every person who has worked to get to this day, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. I also thank everyone who has played a supportive role which really does make a world of difference.
I know our fight isn’t over. We’re working to change the policies that allowed this behavior to span decades. This type of crime is not new and the lack of policy to prevent it is inexcusable. It is simply negligence. If people — if policy to prevent this was in place and was followed, it would have prevented this from happening to the majority of us.
Whistleblowers need to be taken seriously. Reporting needs to be mandatory and documented, and this part is not difficult to figure out. Policymakers have the power to prevent this. They need to know this.
I hope that you give Larry Nassar the maximum sentencing. In my mind, this is what the maximum number of years was designed for. Thank you.
THE COURT: Ma’am, you talk about second-guessing yourself. Never second-guess what you said here today. Never second-guess that your presence isn’t so very willed to the change that you’re talking about because it is. You are moving mountains along with all of the other victims. The legislators are hearing you, I know. They are hearing and looking at how can we make this better for all victims. You show strength, and you have said we need to stop hiding this, we need to talk about it, and while this is being investigated, stop the potential abuser, figure out if it’s happening or not, and that’s what should have happened, and I think legislators are hearing your message, and I’ve heard loudly, so your voice is so very important, and I want to thank you for reading your own statement, for being here and being so strong, that role model, that heroine that you all are. Thank you.