date of testimony: January 23th 2018
age at first abuse: 11
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
statement read by court official Ms Snyder
Thank you, Your Honor, for letting me share my story.
My name is Meaghan Ashcraft. I was a gymnast for 14 years. I met inmate Nassar when I was just ten years old. All the coaches recommended him saying he was the best doctor for gymnastic-related injuries. They said he had helped so many other gymnasts with similar injuries. I needed to get heel cups for an injury on my growth plate.
It was a normal appointment. I saw him a few times after that and he just treated my ankles. He made me feel safe, made me feel that I was going to be somebody one day. He was always complimenting me, always making me laugh and smile. I now know he was grooming me.
Then at 11 years old I got injured. He treated me but also began to give me a special treatment, saying my hips have something to do with my ankles hurting. He was a doctor. I believed him.
I was so unaware of what was actually happening. I believed whatever he was doing was going to help, even though it was so uncomfortable. While my mom was present in the room he would slide over on the roller chair to my side and ask me to lay flat. He would then position himself in such a way that my mother, though not paying much attention, was unable to see what he was doing, sliding his ungloved hand in between my legs saying my hips were out of line resulting in my leg and foot pain. Again, I believed him. It was then that he began to touch me in places a little girl should never be touched.
He finished up the appointment and sent me home. I never spoke of what happened that day. I saw him many times after, each time doing the same thing telling me my hips were causing me pain so he would do one of his special treatments. This went on for two years. I was so young and naive. I had no idea what this monster was doing to me.
One of the last times I saw inmate Nassar was for my rib cage. I was 13 at the time. He again touched my anus and vagina repeatedly sliding his ungloved hand inside of me and he pushed his fingers in and out for about five minutes while pressing down on my abdominal area. It made me feel so gross. He, like the other times, was telling me he was going to help my hips because my one hip seems to lock up. He wanted to help me even though I had only gone in for a popped out rib.
I didn’t want to question him and what he was doing to help me. He was my doctor. I knew he had made me feel gross before and he had made me so uncomfortable, but I didn’t understand why. Who am I to question the best gymnastics doctor in the world?
Who am I to question his medical treatments?
For so many years after this I was always so depressed, never wanting to be touched and hating myself. I began to self harm and was so angry at my own body, but why? I had always been taught to trust doctors, that they will make you feel better, while Larry made me feel 100 times worse.
He used my body for his own gain. He took advantage of me when I had no voice to speak up and, to be honest, I didn’t realize the awful thing he had done to me until all this stuff starting coming out, the stories about how he treated so many other girls. I realized in that moment that this predator, this pedophile had been sexually abusing me when I was a little child. He did this to so many girls, so many innocent girls.
I never wanted to actually speak about this publicly because I still feel shame when recalling the events that happened to me. How did I not realize this was sexual abuse? How did I not realize this was sexual abuse, was the question I asked myself for months after hearing all of this. Why didn’t I say anything about what he had been doing to me? I was clueless. I had no idea of the trauma that had been happening to me
I trusted him with my body. I trusted him as a doctor. He betrayed so many people’s trust.
I still will not let a male doctor touch me from the waist down. As a teenager I wouldn’t even let a male doctor treat me and I figured it was just me being a teenager and that there was something wrong with who I was, that the problem was me. I now know it wasn’t me. It was the fact a man I trusted had been assaulting me without me even realizing it. I felt it was in my heart I needed to speak out and say I am no longer a victim of sexual abuse. I am a survivor. Though I will forever have to say me too, I will not let that define who I will be in the future. This has taught me that I am brave, I am strong, and I will overcome what has happened to me at the hands of this monster.
I hope after all this is done that we, all the amazingly strong survivors, can have some peace knowing that Larry inmate Nassar will be locked away and not able to hurt anyone anymore.
Thank you, Your Honor, for letting me speak my truth.
THE COURT: Thank you very much for that brave statement. Above the me too I want you to put survivor because those words tell me that you’re healing, you’re speaking up now, and your statement takes your power back. He’s the gross one. He’s the shameful one. You are glorious. I wish you well.
Thank you for speaking today.