Listen: Rachael Denhollander on the power of Larry Nassar's manipulation
"But I every investigation into wrongdoing begins with one person coming forward publicly in the case of USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar that person has been Rachel denhellender islander during Nasser's trial more than one hundred and fifty women and girls got up to speak about the abused they had been subjected to for so long the final victim to give a statement was Rachel denhellender there she asked a question how much is a little girl worth now she's out with a new memoir and a children's book with the same name spoke with Rachel from our ABC C. Studios and because we think our account is so important we wanted to bring you the whole interview in two parts in the first. She discusses coming forward with her story. When you first went to Larry Nassar when you first went to him you or how old it was just after my fifteenth birthday you right so much in here about that time period it and and some of the things you talk about not being ready to go there yet because you weren't quite sure what was happening and it's a familiar I heard from all the girls in the case. It didn't know yeah and that's actually a very familiar dynamic with childhood. Sexual in general most abusers are some of that you know awesome that you should be able to trust and so being able to reconcile what's happening with the person that this you know who this is supposed to be is almost impossible. Most childhood sexual assault victims victims don't really fully grasp what's happening to them and when you add a medical veneer over the top of that makes it even more difficult and then you add to it that most abusers are to an extent pillars in the community and you definitely had that that dynamic with Larry and so a huge factor that that kept me silent and kept me believing that this must be medical treatment was that I trusted everyone everyone around me not just my abuser trusted the community around the institutions and authority figures that surrounded Larry to have insured that he was doing accurate medical treatment and you also also did talk to one person and that was your mother who you guys rent went through all the scenarios of if we go forward what might happen at the time when you were just a teenager it yeah so. Larry abused me for almost two years and it wasn't until very near the end that he crossed the line that I knew is abuse and at that point I just froze and so I didn't know what to do with information and I didn't tell my mom for about a year because this shame was just such a heavyweight that verbalizing the abuse wasn't wasn't something news capable of yet but when I did disclose to her and we began having those conversations you know at at seventeen years old I had seen enough of how the culture treat sexual assault victims to know what would happen if I spoke in the last thing I wanted to do was speak up and not win because I knew that would empower Larry to be able to continue and I knew if I pulled that string with Larry I pulled the string of big ten university and I touched their department and I touched a United States Olympic governing body that made the most money out of our summer Olympics six and that touches the USOC and that touches Senate and so I was very acutely aware of the dynamics that I was up against an when I was seventeen I said to my mom. I can't do this without media media pressure. It won't be successful and I can't do this anonymously and so even had that discussion. What do you do do you walk into a newsroom and you say here's here's a story and you just hope they do something with with it? We didn't know what to do with that. We knew what it was going to have to look like to speak up but we didn't know how to make that happen and so really for sixteen years. That's what I was waiting for. I I was waiting for an opportunity and you really kind of put it behind you. You talk about the story of how you met your husband and how you had your kids and you moved on and you were ready ready to go okay. I can move on with this and then Cain that Indie star piece that you saw and you said no enough. That's it and that was the catalyst right yeah. That's what I was waiting for. You know I got to a place where I realized my healing can't depend on whether or not Larry admits what he does whether or not I ever see the justice or whether he stopped and I moved forward with my own healing but I was constantly watching for a chance just following his career looking for any crack that people were believing vink beginning to believe what was taking place in USA gymnastics because I knew if they could see the abusive culture at Sag they might be willing to believe that their own team physician could be the an abuser and that's really what I saw with at Indy start it was the first time that journalists had been able to gain traction pointing to the abuse of environment in United States gymnastics and being able to say this is happening and it's wrong when you went forward and made that decision to say this is what I'm going to do that was difficult for you because you wrote it all down and then can you write about how you thought about it and you said and then I just hit send. Sometimes you just need to hit send yeah and it was you know I'm I'm fortunate because there was was there was the internal battle of knowing what it was going to cost but because I had been waiting and watching for sixteen years I knew exactly what needed to be done. I near how I needed to be done and it really wasn't toys. I had always known if there is an opportunity. This is how it was going to have to be done and I saw that opportunity than as a shot in the dark but you have to take it how much of your legal legal background helped you with this case and knowing what to do and some of the things that you you knew were really important with all of this it was absolutely foundational because it allowed me to review review the case law and the statutes to look at the evidence that I had to be able to approach the prosecutor in the investigator insane. We have a case here this is this is how it can be proven. This is the evidence that I have and just guiding me through the process understanding the dynamics of communication and how to get the story out of Larry's control how to get out of the control of the university and the institutions that were surrounding him so that they couldn't control the narrative anymore next week. We'll bring you part two of that interview with Rachel More Oscar what it was like sitting through all of the impact impact statements and being the last woman to testify"