20 years ago, a then-16-year-old Larissa Boyce told her gymnastics coach that the team’s physician had sexually abused her.
Boyce said Nassar was treating her for backpain but on a number of occasions he physically assaulted her.
“It felt like it was sexual, but I remember justifying it in my mind ― he’s an Olympic doctor, he must know what he was doing,” Boyce said.
Knowing in her gut something wasn’t quite right, Boyce, speaking to The Huffington Post, says she told her coach, Kathie Klages, who downplayed it and assured her she must have misunderstood. This in turn made Boyce feel ashamed and assume it was all in her head.
She continued to believe this for the next 20 years until in September 2016, two other former gymnasts also came out and claimed they had been sexually abused by Nassar.
Since then more than 100 other women have come forward.
“He was the doctor that went to the Olympics with all the gymnasts, and as a young gymnast, that’s your dream,” recalls Boyce.
“You want to go the Olympics, so why wouldn’t you go with this man who works with all the Olympians? He was a God to all of us.”
Boyce initially joined the federal lawsuit under a pseudonym but has now decided to speak publicly in the hopes of empowering other women in similar situations to come forward.
“This should not be something that we are embarrassed of, because we didn’t do anything wrong,” added Boyce.
“I want people to stand for the truth, and just be able to feel comfortable enough to come forward and say ‘This happened to me.’”