“You created an army when you violated us…Your actions have had me by the throat for years. I’m ready to be released from your clench.” – Tiffany Thomas Lopez
For the last few days, I’ve been reading the witness impact statements from the sentencing of disgraced former US Olympic doctor Larry Nassar. They’ve floated across my timeline, and I’ve often caught my breath at their courage as one by one, the women and girls waive anonymity to speak.
The things they have to say are harrowing. But their testimonies, the sisterhood of survival between them and the words of the compassionate judge have been inspirational.
The BBC write-up of those days in court is a long read, and a difficult one, but it’s worth it.
From the BBC story:
A crime writer in her spare time, Judge Aquilina’s words were a powerful force throughout the hearing. She described the women as “sister survivors” and “warriors” who had demonstrated “superwoman steel.”
“I didn’t want even one victim to lose their voice,” she told the court, as she explained why she was prepared to let the hearing go on for as long as it took to hear all of the survivors who wanted to speak.
The survivors, in turn, responded. One after the other waived their anonymity and came to realise this was a chance to take charge of their own story.