LANSING – As victim-impact statements in Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing continue in the second week, themes have emerged among the more than 130 women and girls who have spoken.
There’s the trauma: Nightmares, PTSD, loss of trust and self-worth, loss of voice and suicidal thoughts.
There’s the abuse: Hundreds of instances of being sexually assaulted, digitally penetrated with Nassar’s ungloved hand, sometimes in an exam room, sometimes in the back room of Twisars gymnastics club, sometimes in his home and at least one in a supply closet.
And there’s triumph: Succeeding despite the abuse and trauma, but also reclaiming what Nassar took.
"I had goals for the future," Whitney Burns said Tuesday morning. "You stole my light, Larry Nassar, and I am now taking it back."
Burns was the first woman to speak on Tuesday, the sixth day of Nassar's sentencing hearing that was once expected to take only four days.
In the days before the hearing began last week, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office said it expected 88 women or girls to speak. That figure has been updated each morning, and now stands at 158.
Anna Dayton, who was the 130th woman to give a statement, said on Tuesday that Nassar was her one glimpse of hope to overcome the gymnastics injuries, and he used that power to abuse her.
“I’m here to take back my power relinquish yours,” she told Nassar. “From now on, I decide who I become. I will write the ending to my life story, free from this darkness that you’ve created.”
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