At the ESPYS this week, outstanding female athletes who survived Larry Nassar’s abuse were awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Sarah Klein, Tiffany Thomas Lopez and dozens of other women – 141 in total – graced the stage to accept the honor in a truly inspiring moment at the sports award show.
Gold medalist and two-time Olympian, Aly Raisman, was one of the women at the ESPYS who accepted the award. According to E! News, Raisman said in her speech, “these were the years we spoke up about Larry Nassar’s abuse. All those years we were told you are wrong, you misunderstood, he’s a doctor, it’s OK… The intention? To silence us, in favor of money, medals and reputation.” Raisman went on to conclude with, “but we persisted and finally someone listened and believed us… To all the survivors out there, don’t let anyone rewrite your story. Your truth does matter. You matter and you are not alone.”
Raisman wasn’t the only one with a heartfelt speech that night. According to The Washington Post, Sarah Klein, who identified herself as Nassar’s first victim “30 years ago,” was the first to speak as they accepted the award. She said it was “a privilege to stand up here with my sister survivors as we represent hundreds more who are not with us tonight.”
Nassar is a convicted serial child molester who was the USA Gymnastics team doctor and physician at Michigan State University. Just this past February, Nassar was convicted after assaulting nearly 200 women, most of whom were underage at the time. Nassar was sentenced with 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing girls as he claimed he was treating them as a doctor. In addition, weeks after that, he was sentenced with 40 to 125 years in prison for seven counts of felony criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Prior to these two convictions, in 2017, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography. With all the charges, Nassar will be in prison for no less than 100 years.
Actress Jennifer Garner, who awarded the women the spectacular award, introduced them with a speech saying, “even if the story we are about to tell you is going to be hard to hear, we all have to hear it. We have to hear it, for one, to make sure that what happened at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics never happens again. But we also have to hear it because the massive chorus of voices that have emerged from incredible darkness over the last year are demanding it, with remarkable poise, unimaginable strength and unbelievable courage.”