Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Rachael Denhollander is an extraordinary person, let alone an extraordinary lawyer.
As a teenager, she was a world-class athlete preparing for the Olympics. She was also a victim of sex abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar.
Nassar was later convicted of molesting young gymnasts and sentenced to more than 175 years in prison. Denhollander started the case that put him there.
For her courage as the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar, Sports Illustrated has chosen Denhollander as Inspiration of the Year. But she did more than accuse; she sued.
Denhollander filed a federal complaint against Nassar, and 251 other former gymnasts joined her. Following her lead, more than 300 women said they were assaulted by the former gymnastics doctor.
Many more people have called her a hero for her actions. Christine Blasey Ford, the professor who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, added her praise.
In a video tribute to Denhollander for receiving the SI award, Ford said the gymnast-turned-lawyer "inspired other survivors to end their silence." Ford knew the risk in telling her own story.
Despite Ford's testimony and other allegations of sexual impropriety, the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the most lurid confirmation hearing in the history of the court.
In the aftermath, Ford has received death threats and retreated from the public eye. She has made no public statements since then, but came out to congratulate Denhollander.
"The lasting lesson is that we all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others," Ford said.
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