Abuse survivor says adults could have prevented hundreds of assaults

Victim of Larry Nassar calls for accountability

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Louisville woman credited with exposing serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar said adults failed hundreds of young woman they were supposed to protect. Rachel Denhollander called for accountability.

Denhollander was speaking at a community luncheon held by Kosair Charities for the Face It Movement to End Child Abuse. The event that addressed the soaring levels of child abuse in Kentucky.

Denhollander was the first person to speak out about the abuse she endured from Nassar, the team doctor for USA Gymnastics. At the luncheon, Denhollander spoke about the adults that could have helped but didn't and how other people can make sure they don't make the same mistake.

Larry Nassar in court. (Source: NBC News)
Larry Nassar in court. (Source: NBC News)

When Denhollander stepped forward, she was the only one publicly speaking about the trauma she endured as a teen at the hands of Nassar. Denhollander said she was alone for nearly a year a until others stepped forward.

"[I had] the weight of if we were going to ever to be able to stop this predator would there be any institutional accountability?” said Denhollander. “Would we learn the lessons we needed to learn from all this? I think those are questions we're still wrestling with have we learned what we needed to learn."

During Nassar’s sentencing hearing, Denhollander was one of 156 women who spoke about his abuse. During the community luncheon, Denhollander talked about doctors, counselors, and police officers who knew about the abuse but never reported it or helped the victims. After hearing her story, Denhollander hopes people do the right thing - no matter what it cost.

"It took 156 to raise their voice at a sentencing hearing to say oh this is a big deal,” said Denhollander. “Why did it take 156 women? It should have taken one."

One message touched on during the luncheon is that behind every number there’s a child who’s life has been changed forever.

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