Survivors of convicted sexual abuser and sports doctor Larry Nassar accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the conclusion of the ESPY awards show on Wednesday night.
“We spoke all those years,” said U.S. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman in her acceptance speech as dozens of other survivors stood behind her.
“We were told, ‘You are wrong. You misunderstood, He’s a doctor. It’s okay. Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered. Be careful, there are risks involved,'” she continued. “The intention? To silence us in favor of money, medals and reputation. We persisted and finally someone listened and believed us … The ripple effect of our actions or inactions can be enormous, spanning generations. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this nightmare is that it could have been avoided.”
“To all the survivors out there, don’t let anyone rewrite your story. Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”
— ESPYS (@ESPYS) July 19, 2018
The group represented more than 140 athletes and former athletes abused by Nassar during his tenure with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
The women on stage included 19-year-old Kaylee Lorincz, who advocates for sexual assault policy reform while attending college, and 38-year-old Larissa Boyce, a former gymnast who reported Nassar to Michigan State in 1997. (RELATED: Nassar Victim Rachael Denhollander Can’t Believe MSU’s New Title IX Coordinator)
Today’s the day! Watch the ESPYS tonight at 8:00pm EST My Sister Survivors and I will be accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at 10:30pm. We are accepting this award not only for us, but for all of the Survivors out there. I am so grateful and will remember this forever
— Kaylee Lorincz (@KayleeLorincz) July 18, 2018
Lawyer Rachael Denhollander, 32, was the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse. She was one of twelve women selected to accept the award but was unable to travel to the event due to how far along she is in her pregnancy.
The courage award is named after tennis player Arthur Ashe, the only African American man to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. Other recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award include Stuart Scott, Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King.
More than 150 women, including Raisman, testified at Nassar’s highly publicized trial in January.
Nassar has been serving a 60-year sentence for possession of child pornography in federal prison since February. He was accused of molesting more than 260 victims and was sentenced to two 40-year state sentences for sexual abuse that he will serve should he outlive his federal sentence.
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