Rachel Denhollander

American Lawyer, Former Gymnast, TIME 100 Honoree

When the unthinkable happens to our children, how do we react? Do we believe them and fight by their side or rationalize why the horrific reality of sexual abuse can’t possibly be true?

This is the story of Rachel Denhollander and how her community of support empowered her to take down her abuser, even if it meant playing the long game. She touches on the issues of how her abuser got away with his crime for many years and what she has learned about preventing this organizational dysfunction in the future.

Now she works to educate and advocate on the issues of sexual abuse and organizational ethics. She has been hard at work releasing two books that aid in her efforts to spotlight the lessons of her story while reminding young girls that they are valuable and worth protecting.

In this episode you will hear:

  • There’s a question every victim is left with: “Who’s going to believe me?”

  • It was something that unfolded unexpectedly, yet with years of planning.

  • I knew I wasn’t his first victim.

  • Once an abuser has been left in power, it’s not because nobody is speaking up; its because whoever is speaking up is being silenced.

  • For the next 16 years, I was watching and waiting for an opportunity while I watched Larry’s career, MSU and USAG.

  • There are very significant hurdles to getting a story like that to crack in the media.

  • I come from a faith background, a biblical Christian, and there are aspects of my faith and theology that are driving factors in the pursuit of goodness and the suppression of evil.

  • The community surrounded me. That’s vital. That’s the kind of support that survivors need.

  • Things that make us say “That’s not possible”; those are the very dynamics that keep an abuser in power.

  • We need to do a much better job understanding the dynamics of abuse & how abuse takes place.

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