“Make no mistake – we’re here on this stage to present an image for the world to see, a portrait of survival, a new vision of courage,” said Klein, who was Nassar’s first victim 30 years ago.
Standing beside Klein, Thomas Lopez was indeed a portrait of strength when she delivered her speech, saying, “I encourage those suffering to hold tight to your faith, and stand tall when speaking your truth. I’m here to tell you, you cannot silence the strong forever.”
“To the survivors out there, don’t let anyone write your story. Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone,” continued Raisman, who was one of the 156 women to read victim impact statements at Nassar’s hearing in January. “We all face hardships. If we choose to listen and we choose to act with empathy, we can draw strength from each other. We may suffer alone, but we survive together.”
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented to those who have shown “strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs.” If anyone deserves to be applauded for their strength, it’s the women who've bravely spoken out about sexual abuse and fought for justice.
Following Raisman, Klein and Thomas Lopez’s victim impact statements, Nassar was sent to prison for up to 175 years on multiple counts of sexual misconduct.