“I had to look at what it was going to cost me personally, and what it was going to cost my family...And on the other side were little girls who needed to be saved and women who needed to be set free and know the truth. And they were worth more than what it was going to cost.” — Rachael Denhollander
Listen in as WAP associate Caroline Triscik interviews attorney, advocate, educator, and survivor Rachael Denhollander. In this conversation, we discuss Rachael's courage, vision, and purpose behind her bold activism in encouraging our culture to listen to the voices of sexual abuse survivors to bring justice and systemic change.
The #metoo movement, originally birthed by Tarana Burke in 2006, gained momentum in the fall of 2017 as millions of survivors of sexual abuse, violence, and harassment collectively raised their voices and subsequently regained their power. While social media filled up with #metoo stories, Rachael Denhollander, unbeknownst to many of us, was in the midst of her own long pursuit of justice.
Shortly thereafter, in January of 2018, I happened upon the livestream of victim impact statements taking place in Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina's courtroom with Rachael’s statement in conclusion. I was profoundly moved when Rachael asked the judge — and the world — the significant question, “How much is a girl worth?” I indeed felt like new life was being breathed into me as I sat in awe of the courage Rachael and these women and girls displayed in sharing their stories.
Rachael’s unceasing efforts ultimately led to the conviction of Larry Nassar, a doctor employed by Michigan State University and the USA Gymnastics team who had sexually abused hundreds of girls. Rachael’s testimony, along with that of many other survivors, called into question the systems and institutions that failed them.
Today, Rachael continues to boldly and unequivocally share her truth, as well as empower young girls and women all around the world, especially through her two new books, What is a Girl Worth? and How Much is a Little Girl Worth? Through the privilege of being part of the book launch team for these two books, I was able to connect with Rachael and have the gift and honor of this conversation. Listen in as she shares about her journey of finding her voice and healing from childhood sexual abuse, the work of pursuing both justice and forgiveness, and how we can create change in the Church and culture.
Please be aware that the interview addresses childhood sexual abuse and may be triggering to some listeners. Please take care of yourself as you listen.
— Caroline Triscik
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