Rachael Denhollander was the final survivor to speak at the sentencing. Photo: Reuters

There are certain situations where we want the surface to be the reality. Explosively strong girl athletes dressed in questionably tasteful gear, performing their best for themselves and for us. Keep running, jumping and winning. And, of course, smiling. Bring back those medals while grinning from ear to ear. Don’t give us a hint that there is anything wrong behind those smiles. That’s not what we want of you. We want silent and smiling. This is how Larry Nassar was able to get away with years of systematic abuse of these athletes, because they are girls. Girls being trained and groomed to compete and perform through any kind of suffering. Our collective national pride should be wounded if not devastated by these crimes. They are all our daughters when we cheer them on to win, so why not when they need our protection? As Rachael Denhollander said to Nassar during his sentencing,”How much is a little girl worth? How much is a young woman worth? This sentence will send a message about how serious abuse will be taken. I submit to you that these children are worth everything. Worth every protection the law can offer. Worth the maximum sentence.”

Life is not a long enough sentence for Dr. Larry Nassar. It isn’t long enough for his victims to deal with the abuse they suffered. But it is more than enough time for the public to forget about him. These girls never will. And neither should we.

-Ashley E. Remer
Girl News International

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