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141 sexual abuse survivors accept courage award at the ESPYS

They've put their abuser away for life. And on Wednesday night, 141 survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse joined ...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 1:40 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 1:40 PM

They've put their abuser away for life. And on Wednesday night, 141 survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse joined hands and received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS.

Actress Jennifer Garner introduced the women as "an army that has come here tonight to be heard" as they walked toward the stage to a standing ovation, a process that took nearly two minutes.

Some of the nation's biggest sports stars wiped away tears as they applauded the women at the event that recognizes athletic achievements.

Before the award was presented, the survivors detailed their accounts of the abuse they suffered at the hands of Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.

A total of 141 survivors appeared on stage, said Keri Potts, a spokeswoman for ESPN.

Crisis counselors and therapy dogs were on hand to support them as they spoke about the trauma they experienced.

Sarah Klein identified herself as the first to be abused by Nassar, and said she represented the hundreds of "sister survivors" who could not attend the event.

"Make no mistake, we are here on this stage to present an image for the world to see, a portrait of survival. A new vision of courage," said Klein, one of three women who accepted the award.

Her voice quivering, Klein thanked the detective and assistant attorney general who helped put Nassar behind bars, and said it's time to start caring about children's safety more than adult's reputations.

She described how important it is to speak out -- even when no one listens.

"Speaking up and speaking out is not easy. Telling our stories of abuse over and over and over again in graphic detail is not easy," she said. "We're sacrificing privacy. We're being judged and scrutinized, and it's grueling and it's painful, but it is time."

The annual award is given to those who mirror the spirit of tennis legend and human rights advocate Arthur Ashe.

Tiffany Thomas Lopez accepted the award along with Klein, and encouraged those suffering to stand tall when sharing their stories.

"I'm here to tell you, you cannot silence the strong together," she said.

Aly Raisman started her speech by listing the years they suffered.

"1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. These were the years we spoke up about Larry Nassar's abuse," said Raismann, an Olympic gold medal gymnast.

"All those years we were told 'You are wrong. You misunderstood. He's a doctor. It's OK. Don't worry, we've got it covered. Be careful. There are risks involved.' The intention: to silence us in favor of money, medals and reputation."

She urged those who are suffering to speak out.

"We may suffer alone, but we survive together," she said.

Nassar is serving 40 to 175 years in Michigan for sexually abusing women and girls under the guise of performing medical treatment. More than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.

He was also indicted in Texas last month on charges of sexual assault of a child at the Karolyi Ranch, where numerous Olympians have trained for decades.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 479326

Reported Deaths: 9353
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32779484
Hinds30924582
DeSoto30319353
Jackson23542341
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Madison14120271
Jones13327223
Forrest13078236
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Lawrence205732
Perry198553
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Franklin116328
Quitman103426
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson87333
Sharkey62320
Issaquena1926
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 778549

Reported Deaths: 13665
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1105871747
Mobile704651206
Madison49152610
Baldwin35946479
Shelby35796302
Tuscaloosa33410532
Montgomery32906672
Lee22231216
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Walker10430323
Autauga9568133
Blount9555152
Jackson9235146
Coffee8728169
Colbert8426179
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Covington6396163
Chilton6293141
Russell598555
Franklin5719100
Chambers5315133
Marion4734115
Dallas4665182
Clarke457076
Pike456294
Geneva4315116
Winston417192
Lawrence4086108
Bibb401680
Barbour341968
Marengo323183
Butler314988
Monroe314652
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Randolph299955
Henry298356
Hale289383
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Fayette275672
Washington244848
Crenshaw235168
Clay225163
Macon217657
Cleburne217149
Lamar192140
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Coosa166432
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Perry136036
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Greene120142
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