In a powerful moment at the 2018 Espy Awards on Wednesday night, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage was presented to the representatives of ‘Sister Survivors’ who spoke out against sexual abuse by their former gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.
Gymnast Aly Raisman, softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez and gymnast Sarah Klein, who revealed she was Nassar’s first victim 30 years ago, stood strong with over 140 abuse victims, telling their stories.
“Thank you. Thank you ESPN and the Arthur Ashe family for honoring survivors of sexual abuse, Sarah began. “It is a privilege to stand up here with my ‘sister survivors’ as we represent hundreds more who are not with us tonight. Make no mistake, we are here on this stage to present an image for the world to see—a portrait of survival. A new vision of courage.
“We must start caring about children’s safety more than we care about adults’ reputations,” Sarah continued. “If we can just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it.”
“Finally someone listened and believed us. For too long we were ignored. And you helped us rediscover the power we each possess,” Aly added, referring to Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who sentenced Larry Nassar in the abuse case. “It could have been avoided. Predators thrive in silence. Whether you act or do nothing you are shaping the world we live in—impacting others. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar.”
Aly concluded her speech by saying, “We all face hardships. If we choose to listen and we choose to act with empathy, we can draw strength from each other. We may suffer alone but we survive together.”