date of testimony: January 23th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age at first abuse: 11
To start off, I want to thank all of the other brave women that have come forward and told their stories, both publicly and anonymously. I would not have the strength to be here today if it wasn’t for your fearlessness. Thank you for helping me process what has happened to us through your bravery and willingness to share your stories. Thank you for helping me and all of us sufferers begin to heal. And thank you, Judge Aquilina, for allowing all of us women the opportunity to speak.
As I’m standing up here today I’m honestly having a hard time processing the fact that all of this is really happening. When this nightmare all began, I never thought I would be able to face you again, but here I am standing in front of you, backed by the power of hundreds of women. To try and put into words just how your molestation of me impacted my life, well, you know what, there really are no words to express the amount of pain that you have inflicted.
There are no words to express the amount of confusion you have caused. Words cannot begin to explain the absolute terror that you have imposed upon the lives of all of us innocent suffers. But I owe it to myself, to my sister, biological and to the rest of my sister survivors, to tell my story as best I can because we will not be silenced by you any longer.
I was a gymnast at Twistars from age three to 15 and then I continued with high school sports.
I broke my foot when I was 11 years old and I had to wear a boot. It caused me walk with my legs at two different heights, which for a girl about to go through puberty and participating in a sport that tortured her body to begin with, was bound to lead to problems.
I was experiencing pretty severe back pain within a couple of weeks and was told by my coaches to see Larry Monday night after practice. I remember being excited that I was going to see you. I was excited that I was going to get to see Larry Nassar because it was a privilege. Can you believe that?
It was a privilege to see a child molester.
I saw you on Monday nights for a few weeks to get treatments for my back which, by the way, I now realize is a bit strange that I never received an actual diagnosis for over the ten years that you treated me. But I went back to see you every Monday because you were Larry, the best gymnastics doctor in the world. What you were doing couldn’t be wrong.
Who was I to feel violated by this? And, anyways, my foot healed soon enough. I was back on my two feet practicing. I wouldn’t be needing your treatments anymore. It would all be done now, wouldn’t it?
Wrong. This story had just begun. From that broken foot at 11 years old I had injury after injury, I required five surgeries, and all of those injuries, with the exception of the surgeries, were treated by you. Looking back at the years I spent being treated by you I think I figured it out. It’s like you had this elaborate system set up for us innocent girls, your victims. It’s like we moved through these levels of your sick, messed up world in which your abuse of us got a little bit more intense each time we leveled up. I started with Monday nights at Twistars, then I got to see you at MSU after hours, finally I got to be treated at Holt High School football games because I was a student there, and even better, next I could be seen in the Holt training room on a regular basis, and that last final level of your horrible pyramid of lies, I got to lay on a table in your basement next to your lit fireplace and your children’s toys surrounding me while you treated me for my back problems.
And through these levels not only did the locations of our treatments get more intimate but our topics of conversation did as well as I confided in you about friendships and family struggles, boy drama, the latest fashion trends.
I was only 11 years old when this all started. I didn’t know that doctors weren’t supposed to be doing these things to girls alone and unsupervised. I knew it felt strange, but you were Larry Nassar. I was supposed to feel privileged to be treated by you.
This has to be okay. This is okay. I am okay. This is the phrase that I trained myself to repeat all those nights in high school when I woke up in a cold sweat, heart racing and about to vomit because I had a nightmare about one of our treatments. This is the phrase that I’ve trained myself to repeat when I’m out with my friends up at CMU nowadays and someone bumps into me and it strikes the wrong nerve causing me to flashback to some time I was laying on your exam table. This is the phrase that I’ve trained myself to say for all those times when you made my life so hard that for just a second I wonder what it might be like to end it.
But as I stand up here in front of you today I am ready to amend this phrase that I’ve trained myself to use. To the 11 year old girl who said that this has to be okay, no, this should not have been okay.
To MSU, USAG, and whoever else is responsible for creating an environment in which this monster had unsupervised, uninterrupted, unprecedented access to hundreds of victims, you should have prevented this. It should have never been a privilege to see a child molester. This is not okay.
And, finally, while I might not be 100 percent okay right now, I and all of us survivors will be okay. In fact, we will be more than okay.
We will be wonderful and we will do great things. We will love and we will laugh and we will succeed despite what you have done to us, Larry Nassar.
Before I go I would like to address you one more time, Larry. Look what you’ve done. You have taken the innocence of so many girls and you have taken it from us so many times that as I stand here with my rock, my best friend in the entire world, my 17 year old sister, she felt that because you only touched her once that her pain is not as monumental as the rest of ours. How messed up is that, the fact that she feels her voice doesn’t matter when we all know that it does? One time is far too many.
I trusted you perhaps more than anyone else in my life. I volunteered with you in your autism foundation. I worked with you as a student trainer at Holt High School. I worked with you, you and other students, on the Stop the Switch Movement, but now because of the bravery of the women that have refused to be silenced for the past who knows how many years, I can finally see past your brainwashing. You are an abuser of the absolute worst kind, but you will pay for what you have done, and you will have the rest of your life to rot in prison and think about the hundreds of lives you tried to ruin, but remember this, Larry, you have tried and you have failed. You did not ruin our lives. You have stolen a chapter out of our stories and we will never get that back, but us survivors will only be stronger because of it, and we will not stop until no child ever finds themselves living under the lie that it is a privilege to be treated by a monstrous criminal such as yourself.
Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Let me just tell you that it is a privilege to have you and your sister speak out. You are both strong survivors. You are better than okay. You are outstanding. You are amazingly strong, and your voice matters, and you are absolutely right, and I am so glad that you said that even one time is not okay. The right number is zero.
It is never. And with your strong voices you are helping others see that. Thank you so much for being here.