Several survivors of pedophile doctor Larry Nassar are said to have carried ‘worry stones’ to help ease the stress and trauma of speaking about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Michigan doctor during his sentencing hearing.
The stones, which were created by victim rights advocate Angela Olson, each have inspirational and supporting words painted on them, and were given to the abuse victims to hold throughout the trial to serve as a reminder that they were not alone.
Designed to act as a good luck charm of sorts, the words and phrases painted on the palm-sized stones included things like ‘be strong’, ‘courage’, truth’ and ‘you matter’.
Lucky charm: Survivors of pedophile doctor Larry Nassar were offered ‘worry stones’ to hold during his trial to help ease the trauma of detailing their abuse
Prison: The former USA Gymnastics doctor was sentenced to 175 years in jail on Wednesday afternoon after sexually abusing 150 victims
Olsen who works as a training specialist for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, told the Lansing State Journal that she and two co-workers painted the stones to give to the victims the day before sentencing began.
‘We were just looking for some creative ways to reduce the stress because it’s been really high,’ she said.
She also revealed that one anonymous victim who made a victim impact statement on January 15, had rubbed the stone so hard during trial, the paint had almost disappeared by the end of the first day of sentencing.
Speaking out: Victims like Rachael Denhollander, who was just 15 when she was sexually assaulted by Nassar, were offered the stones to hold as a reminder that they were not alone
‘A lot of them carry them with them to court every day,’ Olson said.
She added: ‘It’s just inspiring to see them get their courage up and come forward and see what type of power it does give them.’
‘It really does feel like you are witnessing a movement.’
Officials have also designated private rooms for the victims to eat in during breaks and have brought in a therapy dog to relieve tensions.
Nassar is accused of molesting several Olympic gymnasts and other young female athletes over two decades, instead of solving their sports injuries.
Emotional: Many of the survivors, including gymnast Emily Morales, broke down while they read their victim impact statements in court
Her truth: Aly Raisman has been a vocal critic of USA Gymnastics and how it handled the Nassar scandal, blasting them in her own victim impact statement
Brave: Victim Sterling Riethman speaking at the sentencing hearing
Since Tuesday, 163 victim impact statements have read out in court by the victims themselves or a member of their family.
Rachael Denhollander who was just 15 when she was sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar and one of the first women to publicly identify herself as one of Nassar’s young victims, was the last to speak during the seven-day sentencing hearing.
She recounted how Nassar even used his own newborn daughter, Caroline, to orchestrate a meeting with her and ‘manipulate’ her.
Victim Alison Chaubette speaks at Nassar’s sentencing hearing
The disgraced former Michigan State University professor who also worked as the USA Gymnastics team doctor, has admitted to sexually abusing girls under his care, including putting his finger into the vagina of patients under the age of 13.
Olympians including Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney are among those who have revealed they were abused by Nassar.