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Larry Nassar victims including Aly Raisman are Glamour’s Women of the Year

With so many strong women standing up for themselves and for others in 2018, Glamour editors had their work cut out for them in choosing who to spotlight for its Women of the Year issue.

An obvious inclusion: The sexual assault survivors who spoke out against Dr. Larry Nassar.

But while the women have all been applauded for their bravery, some admit speaking out against their abuser hasn’t been easy.

Brave ladies: The sexual assault survivors who spoke out against Dr. Larry Nassar are featured in Glamour’s Women of the Year issues

Strength in numbers: Several of them posed together and were dubbed the 'Sister Army'

Strength in numbers: Several of them posed together and were dubbed the ‘Sister Army’

Monster: He was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual abuse

Monster: He was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual abuse

‘My vagina is dinner conversation for other people,’ Rachael Denhollander, one of 156 survivors to speak at Nassar’s sentencing, told the magazine. 

A gymnast, Denhollander, now 33, had told her parents she was feeling back pain when they made an appointment for her with Nassar.

Over the course of several sessions, he would cover Denhollander with a towel and penetrate her with his ungloved fingers. One time, he groped her breasts while her mother wasn’t watching.

She only realized that what he was doing was assault — and not real treatment — when he noticed his erection. She told her parents she didn’t want to go see him anymore.

She didn’t report at the time, she said, because ‘I knew the reality of how sexual assault survivors are treated, and I knew my voice alone was never going to be enough. Larry was surrounded by very powerful institutions.’

Strong: Rachael Denhollander, now 33, was one of 156 survivors to speak at Nassar's sentencing

Strong: Rachael Denhollander, now 33, was one of 156 survivors to speak at Nassar’s sentencing

She said she didn't speak out at the time because 'I knew the reality of how sexual assault survivors are treated, and I knew my voice alone was never going to be enough'

She said she didn’t speak out at the time because ‘I knew the reality of how sexual assault survivors are treated, and I knew my voice alone was never going to be enough’

She did, however, warn a coach at a gym she worked at not to refer a little girl to Nassar, going into detail about what he’d done to her. The coach referred the girl anyway.

Years later, on August 25, 2016, she finally did report what had happened.

She’s read an exposé of sex abuse among USAG coaches and felt the press might help her be taken more seriously. So, after giving her three young kids an audiobook to distract them, she made the phone call to the Michigan State University (MSU) police department.

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, 23, also spoke to Glamour for the piece.

‘A lot of people, including myself, have been speaking out for years and years and years, and people just weren’t listening,’ she said. ‘After I spoke up, Larry Nassar continued to abuse gymnasts because USAG didn’t handle it correctly. That’s unacceptable.’

Icon: Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, 23, also spoke to Glamour for the piece

Icon: Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, 23, also spoke to Glamour for the piece

Listening now? 'A lot of people, including myself, have been speaking out for years and years and years, and people just weren’t listening,' she said

Listening now? ‘A lot of people, including myself, have been speaking out for years and years and years, and people just weren’t listening,’ she said

Standing up: She wasn't actually planning to be at the sentencing because she thought turning up would be too traumatic. But she changed her mind watching the testimony of others

Standing up: She wasn’t actually planning to be at the sentencing because she thought turning up would be too traumatic. But she changed her mind watching the testimony of others

‘It’s just devastating that we all trusted him because he was the United States Olympic doctor and we thought he really cared for us. And it’s devastating that so many people let us down.’

She wasn’t actually planning to be at the sentencing, deciding instead to watch it on TV from New York City because she thought turning up would be too traumatic.

But she changed her mind watching the testimony of others. 

‘I saw Kyle Stephens say: “Little girls grow into strong women that return to destroy your world,” and in that moment it became clear to me that I wasn’t alone. And I knew I had to be there,’ she said. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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