Each year, prized athletes attend the ESPY Awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) hoping for a chance to be recognized for their dedication to their sport. As athletes who have dedicated their entire lives to their sport, they stand in the midst of the best of the best. Since the first ESPY Awards, fans have witnessed the most adored celebrities in their spotlight and longed to have experienced the triumphs that they’ve experienced.
But this year’s ESPYs were very different. This year, one of the most powerful visual moments in history took place on the main stage at the ESPYs. Each year, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award was given to not one, not two, but 140 women.
140 women who received this award did not receive the award for their athletic achievements, but for their courage, after speaking out about the traumatic and prolonged sexual abuse they endured while under the care of former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar.
Award-winning actress, Jennifer Garner, presented the award to 141 women on stage. The visual was powerful as 140 women stood hand in hand, representing the hundreds of women that Larry Nassar abused while working as their doctor. The group of “sister survivors” took courageously infant of some of the world’s best athletes. Th moment was powerful and left the athletes clapping, crying, and giving the girls a standing ovation.
Three victims stood front and center: Sarah Klein, Tiffany Thomas Lopez, and the Olympic gold-medalist that put the case into international motion, Aly Raisman. Each survivor shared their experience with courage- something that every single member in the audience fought to hold tears back in hearing.
The women shared their trauma with courage while thanking the judge that made their private suffering end, Judge Aquilina. Aly thanked Judge Aquilina on behalf of all of Larry Nassar’s victims. “Thank you, for honoring our voices. For too long, we were ignored, and you helped us to rediscover the power we each possess,” Raisman said. “You may never meet the hundreds of children you saved, but know they exist.”
Aly concluded her powerful moment with one last bold truth. She said, “We may suffer alone, but we survive together.” The entire room stood to their feet in honor of the bravery of each girl.
Aly Raisman was one of the most famous victims to come forward. She endured constant abuse for nearly 8 years. As an American gymnast, she won six Olympic medals. When she chose to speak out about her abuse, she was hushed by the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics. Today, she is a large part of the force that put Larry Nassar in prison.
History was made with by bravery of each woman on stage at the ESPY Awards. Share your prayers in the comments section on Facebook. See the full speech below.