It took courage for all of disgraced USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar‘s victims to speak out on his heinous acts of sexual abuse. And it was that same courage that was recognized at this year’s ESPY Awards.
According to USA Today, Olympian Aly Raisman and over 140 survivors hit the stage of the 2018 ESPYs to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award not only for their efforts in shedding light on Nassar’s years of abuse, but also for representing the issue of sexual abuse at large.
Sarah Klein — who USA Today says described herself as Nassar’s first victim nearly 30 years ago — explained to the crowd just how difficult it was to stand up and speak out.
“Speaking up and speaking out is not easy,” Klein said. “Telling our stories of abuse over and over and over again, in graphic detail, is not easy. We’re sacrificing privacy. We’re being judged and scrutinized, and it’s grueling, and it’s painful — but it is time.”
In their group appearance, USA Today says the survivors not only thanked the “Michigan police and prosecutors for helping bring Nassar to justice,” but also “thanked judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who allowed hundreds of women to testify at Nassar’s sentencing.”
It was Raisman, however, who concluded the group’s remarks, offering a message to all survivors of abuse.
“To all the survivors out there: Don’t let anyone rewrite your story,” Raisman said, according to USA Today. “Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”