In a video statement, Christine Blasey Ford presented former gymnast Rachel Denhollander as Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year at the magazine’s annual “Sportsperson of the Year Awards” on Tuesday.
Blasey Ford, giving her first public statement since testifying against then-Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in September, said she was in “awe” of Denhollander for being the first woman to come forward and publicly accuse former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault.
“I am honored to speak with you from afar about a woman I admire so much, a woman who suffered abuse as a vulnerable teenage athlete, who found the courage to talk publicly to stop the abuse of others,” Blasey Ford said. “Her courage inspired others survivors to end their silence, and we all know the result.”
In her first public statement since September, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford presents Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year Award to Rachael Denhollander https://t.co/2lBOB9nVDk pic.twitter.com/AjRYVYfOmS
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 12, 2018
Denhollander was one of more than 300 women to accuse Nassar, who was sentenced up to 175 years on Michigan state charges of sexual assault earlier this year, in addition to a sentence of 40 to 125 years in prison on three counts of sexual assault. Nassar also received a 60-year sentence on federal child pornography charges.
Denhollander also filed a federal lawsuit against Nassar along with other gymnasts.
In September, Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when she was 15. Kavanaugh denied that claim and was later confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.
Blasey Ford said she will always be inspired by Denhollander.
” In stepping forward, you took a huge risk and you galvanized future generations to come forward, even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them,” she said. “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.”
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