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Rachael Denhollander accepts the 'Inspiration of the Year Award' onstage at Sports Illustrated 2018 Sportsperson of the Year Awards Show on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Rachael Denhollander accepts the 'Inspiration of the Year Award' onstage at Sports Illustrated 2018 Sportsperson of the Year Awards Show on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. (Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

Receiving "Inspiration of the Year" Award From Christine Blasey Ford, First Nassar Accuser Says, "Be Willing to Hear the Truth"

"Her courage inspired other survivors to end their silence," Kavanaugh accuser Blasey Ford says of former gymnast Rachael Denhollander

Andrea Germanos

Christine Blasey Ford,  the college professor who accused now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, presented Sports Illustrated's Inspiration of the Year Award on Tuesday night to Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual assault, saying the former gymnast's courage "galvanized future generations to come forward, event when the odds are seemingly stacked against them."

"Her courage inspired other survivors to end their silence. And we all know the result," Blasey Ford said in a video statement presenting the award. "We all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others," the psychology professor added.

"Thankful for the gracious words of Dr. Ford and what she has been willing to endure," Denhollander wrote on Twitter. "Be willing to hear the truth and know what it looks like, even and especially in your own communities. That is when it matters the most."

Denhollander, who is now a lawyer, came forward with her accusations against Nasser in 2016. She said the then-USA Gymnastics' team physician repeatedly assaulted her when she was a 15-year-old child. She was far from his only victim.

After Denhollander made her abuse public, hundreds of other victims came forward with their own similar accusations against Nassar. What also came to light was that least a dozen Michigan State University representatives were warned of such allegations but took no action, and the U.S. Olympic Committee was also accused of failing to take appropriate action to stop Nassar from committing crimes against girls.

"This is what it looks like when institutions create a culture where a predator can flourish unafraid and unabated, and this is what it looks like when people in authority refuse to listen, put friendships in front of the truth, fail to create or enforce proper policy, and fail to hold enablers accountable," Denhollander said in court ahead of Nassar's sentencing.

Nassar, who pleaded guilty to child pornography and sexual assault, is spending the rest of his life behind bars.

Commenting on Los Angeles awards event, Denhollander said on Twitter, "may this be the beginning of standing against abuse no matter what community we find it in."

Blasey Ford, for her part, detailed her allegations of attempted rape by Kavanaugh before Congress in September. Her testimony sparked protest against Kavanaugh's ultimately successful confirmation and an outpouring of support for Blasey Ford.


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