date of testimony: January 23th 2018
age of abuse: 10-14 years old
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
I like to think of myself as an optimist. I always strive to see the good in people, so when these Nassar allegations headlined, I didn’t want to believe that they were true. More than that, I didn’t want to let myself believe it actually happened to me.
However, as I read the stories of the other victims I realized mine is no different. Aly Raisman’s testimony detailed the same exact abuse that I was too afraid to talk to anybody about. I am a victim of sexual abuse. That is not something that is easy to admit, and I tried for so long to deny, push it back to the back of my head, and forget about it. However, it is seemingly impossible to do that.
How can you just move on with something as horrific as what happened to me and so many others?
I was violated by Mr. Nassar hundreds of times between the ages of 10 and 14. The amount of physical, mental, and emotional trauma this man has forced upon me is immeasurable. What he did to me and so many others is disgusting. He took advantage of not only me as a little girl but of my parents, friends, and many, many others just like him. I trusted him to take care of me. My parents trusted him, and he used me as a toy for his own pleasure.
Larry Nassar destroyed my childhood innocence and shattered any positive experiences I had had in the gymnastics world. He ruined the way I see the world, broke my trust, instilled a fear in me when I’m around men, and crushed any excitement I had for future relationships.
Not only will he have to live with what he did to me, but I will also have to live with those facts. This is a burden that no one should have to carry but way too many of us do.
And to those people and organizations that let Mr. Nassar get away with these disgusting acts for so long, shame on you. People came to you crying out for help and you did nothing but turn them away, threaten them, and make them feel worse about their situation than they already did, if that’s even possible. This could have been prevented. You could have saved hundreds of young girls from sexual abuse. You could have saved me, but you didn’t.
I was treated by Nassar at MSU and this was after the 2014 investigation. These appointments were no different than the previous ones. No new protocols were followed and I was abused again.
People need to realize that we are real humans with real rights, feelings, and emotions, and we are all affected by these despicable acts. We are important. However, the organizations opted to protect their reputation and money over our lives and well-being.
You know, just 48 hours ago I was adamant that I was not going to share here today. I’ve been wrestling with, denying, and trying to stifle everything that had happened to me for the past year, and I’ve decided that it’s impossible to keep it to myself anymore. This past week has been the hardest of my entire life, but listening to so many other strong women speak out has inspired me to do the same.
While spending much time in prayer and reflection this week, my God has shown me that I am strong and beautiful and bold and no one, especially not you, can take that away from me. I may seem like a lamb on the outside but I’m a lion on the inside, and while standing up here I’m finally realizing I’m not alone and my story is important, and I have a right to be heard, and I refuse to be held in bondage by what this man has done to me. Thank you.
THE COURT: Ma’am, you just cut the bondage of that secret, and that’s so important to your healing. You are whole. You are a strong survivor of sexual abuse. You are not a victim. You are a survivor. You are incredible. I hope your words lift you as much as what I’ve seen, because when you came up to the podium you were a little hunched over, and now I just see you rise, and you’re rising with your sister survivors.
I’m so proud you came forward, especially at your tender years. I know — I was once a 16 year old girl and I thought I was such a big adult, and I know that many teenagers feel that way. I think that’s really a prevalent feeling amongst teenagers. You have said adult words, and I’m sorry that you had to go through what you did at your tender age, but you are incredible and you have such a healthy, happy lifelong journey ahead of you, and you’ve taken your power back. You are amazing, especially at 16, to stand here in front of all these people, in front of the court, and talk like that. Keep talking. Stay happy. I love the smile. Congratulations, ma’am.
MS. WOODLAND: Thank you so much.