Rachel Denhollander receives Calvin’s 2021 Kuyper Prize

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The woman who garnered international attention when she became the first person to speak publicly against disgraced doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse was in Grand Rapids to accept an award Wednesday.

Attorney Rachel Denhollander received the Abraham Kuyper Prize from Calvin University for her outstanding work as a sexual abuse victim advocate. She took the opportunity to call on people of faith to support victims of sexual assault in a more robust way.

Denhollander said laws, hospital policies and court systems often work against victims. She also said the way people think about sexual abuse creates a breeding ground for more abuse.

Denhollander said the responses people get when they speak out about their abuse is directly tied to their likelihood to fall victim to alcoholism, suicide and depression.

After receiving the award, Denhollander answered questions and spoke more about her personal healing process following abuse by Nassar.

This week, the survivors in the Nassar case reached a settlement of $380 million. Denhollander says the monetary settlement will be important for victims seeking medical and therapeutic care.

“While money does not fix the problem and there’s no amount of money that we can place on the value of an individual, it does help communicate the depth of the damage that was done and the value that these survivors have,” said Denhollander. “At the same time, the fact that it took five years and over 500 women to get here is appalling. There’s so much that needs to change about our justice system and our culture so that it doesn’t take this long to reach a level of justice.”

Denhollander added that she’s grateful that the chapter is closed. She says going forward, the non-monetary provisions included in the settlement could be game changing if USA Gymnastics sticks to its word.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Growing Grand Rapids and Beyond

More Growing Grand Rapids and beyond

Top Stories On WOODTV.com

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links