Dear Gossips,

The thing about being brave is that the people who end up being brave probably would prefer to not be put in the position to have to be brave in the first place. When you are brave, you are “ready to endure danger or pain”. Nobody wakes up and says, well sh-t, it will would totally make my day today if there’s some danger or pain on the schedule so that I can be brave. F-ck the bravery, just take away the danger and the pain.

Rachael Denhollander is a survivor, the first to publicly come forward to accuse Larry Nassar of sexual assault. She is the reason so many other women also came forward to share their stories, their very similar stories. Rachael has been brave. But her point has been, over and over again, that she and the sisterhood of survivors we’ve heard from over the last week should never have had to be brave in the first place. They had to be brave because a lot of people failed them, over and over again, and that started with Larry Nassar but it doesn’t end with him. 


Yesterday, following her statement in court, Rachael Denhollander was asked what the takeaway from this entire situation should be. Her response:  

“Do it better next time.”

So that there is no next time. So that bravery doesn’t have to be the result of being sexually assaulted. Of course her bravery should be acknowledged and appreciated. I’m not saying otherwise. But through it all, Rachael’s message has been that bravery shouldn’t be the intended conclusion. What she has repeatedly emphasised is the need for change, the kind of change that prevents the necessity of bravery. That has been the purpose behind her work. 

To read more about Rachael Denhollander’s work, check out Deadspin’s piece on her from back in September, about what started as a “shot in the dark”, and their article about her statement in court yesterday. Also her victim impact statement here. For more on the background of this story, this Vox piece is a good starting point to understanding how several institutions failed the people they were supposed to be protecting. From there you can access more information on the entire situation. It is the hope of Rachael Denhollander and the sisterhood of survivors that people keep paying attention to this story the way they’ve paid attention over the last few weeks because justice for them, even though Larry Nassar has been sentenced, is still not complete. 

Yours in gossip,