No amount of legal training could have prepared Rachael Denhhollander for what lay ahead in blowing the whistle on serial sex abuser Larry Nassar.
Ms Denhollander, an attorney in Louisville Kentucky, wrote in the NY Times about taking on the power of the US Olympic Committee and the cunning and predator expertise of Larry Nassar in his massive abuse ‘practice’.
Filing the first abuse allegation in 2016, which occurred when Ms Denhollander made her allegations of abuse when she was a 15 year old.
In what she described as “the greatest sexual assault in sports history”, the ‘Jane Doe’ complainants had names attached and the scandalous abuse regime of Nassar was exposed. But at great cost.
“I lost my church. I lost my greatest friends as a result of advocating for survivors who had been victimized by similar institutional failures in my own community.
“I lost every shred of privacy”.
Despite her legal background and her knowledge of process, she said she was totally unprepared for what was required to make her stand.
She was called an ambulance chaser seeking a personal payday and her intimate details were posted online.
The first step toward changing the culture that led to this atrocity is to hold enablers of abuse accountable. There is much that needs to be done legislatively, including extending or removing the statute of limitations on criminal and civil charges related to sexual assault, and strengthening mandatory reporting laws and ensuring truth in sentencing, so that dangerous offenders are not released early to damage more children.
Most important, we need to encourage and support those brave enough to speak out. Predators rely on community protection to silence victims and keep them in power, she wrote.
The questions have been asked and the Larry Nassar disgrace, along with Rachael Denhollander’s brave stand, may help highlight the legal, ethical, medical and social risks prevalent when people like Larry Nassar abuse their power.