Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Make It Count

on January 27, 2018


I was going to stick with one of my usual themes and share last week’s fine moment of when a patient’s daughter came stomping into our area ranting that the surgeon had given her permission to observe in the OR (didn’t happen) and now we weren’t letting her in PACU.

A conversation with someone of whose opinion I hold dearly encouraged me rather to share my thoughts on a news event I’d been following.

Long before I was a nurse, I was a gymnast, and it’s because of that I followed the news accounts of the trial of Larry Nassar, MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor. Me, I had an idyllic experience in the sport.  Mr. Nassar has just been given a sentence of up to 175 years for child pornography and his sexual assault of over 150 girls in Michigan and Huntsville.

The other reason I’m posting is this: I have an appreciation for women who are standing up for each other, not tearing each other down. Rachael Denhollander, the first victim to speak out (August 2016 / the Indianapolis Star), worked with investigative reporters to give a voice to all abuse victims. Nassar, for years, had been preying on young girls obedient to the love for gymnastics. When injuries occurred, he assaulted them under the guise of what he described as ‘medical procedures’.

Before I go any further, let me be very clear, my coaches were an amazing husband/wife team, both Christian athletes, who put  their life savings up in order to create an atmosphere girls like myself could learn and grow as gymnasts. I always felt safe. They were mentors, not just sports mentors, but life mentors. They garnered the trust of my parents. Years later, I was honored when they allowed their young son to be my ring bearer.

‘Finding your voice’, it sounds so good on paper. You envision high school students embracing the arts, theatre, painting or more literal avenues like Debate in order to sculpt their character as they prepare to step out into the world. Don’t we say this all the time to the next generation? There’s a flip side — when using your voice brings on the loss of friends, your church, and your privacy, you weigh each word to ensure the cost is equitable to your motive.

Rachael Denhollander paid the price for speaking up, but still chose her impact statement in court to not be a self-righteous rant, but an opportunity to remind MSU and USAG how they ignored the attempts to expose the so called ‘world class doctor.’ Administrators said they “Didn’t know” because they “didn’t believe”, “reports weren’t handled correctly” and “…weren’t reported to the right person.” Enablers – she didn’t use the word, but you get the point. She outlined all the steps she’d taken to enlighten authority figures and their lackadaisical responses. She reminded everyone in the courtroom how individual girls were treated when they themselves filed their claims. With the help of investigators, she persisted for two years.

As an ex-gymnast, a nurse with general respect for practitioners, and a writer with growing understanding of the power of words, I was overwhelmed with admiration for the clarity and completeness of her statement.

Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis later commented. “[Nassar] is possibly the most prolific child abuser in history.”

Rachael Denhollander just brought him down.

She is not just a survivor; she is a powerful force as a human being.

2 responses to “Make It Count

  1. Christy says:

    I’m glad he was finally exposed for what he was doing. My heart aches for Rachael as she not only has the trauma of the abuse but now added trauma of the court system in trying to get him convicted. Getting your voice can be very empowering as it allows you to be you and you to be known for who you are. I’m glad you wrote on this. It’s always good to hear when someone speaks up against evil and evil gets stopped in it’s tracks.

  2. Beth says:

    “…when using your voice brings on the loss of friends, your church, and your privacy, you weigh each word to ensure the cost is equitable to your motive.”

    Wow! What a statement! How can the younger ones ever be vindicated?

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