Victim statements heart breaking but empowering

Story: Bayelee Hodge, Staff Writer

The past month and a half has been a crazy experience as a beginning writer.

I am a stronger person emotionally and physically and have learned much from the experience of writing about a survivor and her family’s journey through the Larry Nassar case.

If you don’t know what the Nassar case is, you’ve been living in a cave. Here it is broken down into simple terms: Nassar is a former Michigan State University sports medicine doctor who performed “treatments” on many young girls, including top gymnasts and other athletes. The disgusting monster was sexually assaulting these girls for his own pleasure.

So many things are wrong with those last two sentences. This man broke these girls down and took away their innocence, their enjoyment of their sport and a crucial part in their childhoods.

While doing research for my story on Larissa Boyce and her family, watching the impact statements and watching the interviews was sad and heart breaking. I watched my beloved choir conductor Adam Boyce stand up in court and talk to this disgusting man and to all those listening and explain how much pain this monster had caused in his and his family’s life. I then listened to Larissa Boyce explain what Nassar did to her young innocent self.

And, while the awfulness was indescribable, the statements were also empowering and inspirational. With every word of detail, a new tear would form and roll down my face, whether it was a happy tear, sad tear or a proud tear.

I don’t want to sound like the experience of watching statement after statement was easy. I was filled with lots of sadness. But I was also very inspired and motivated to help. Even though I’ve never gone through what these women went through, I feel like after talking to Larissa Boyce, I can help and motivate others.

The Boyce family is one of the strongest families I have ever met. Raising four beautiful, wonderful children while going through this crap is unimaginable.

Finding out more than what you see on the news and tabloids and finding out the deeper part of these women’s story has been surreal, as has hearing how to prevent this from happening to yourself.

In my interview with Larissa, I asked her what advice to give to other men or women going through something similar. She said, “Don’t stop talking about it until someone listens. Be a broken record.” I think that is powerful and gives many young girls, boys, women and men hope that there is a way to get help.

The experience has taught me to have a voice, no matter my age.

“You have a voice… a voice that is strong no matter how old you are,” Larissa said in our interview.

I was filled with many emotions writing and so many thoughts would race through my mind. There was anger built up just hearing how much pain this devil put these girls through. Eventually, these women did get their voices heard, even though it is much later then when it should have happened.

I feel blessed to be able to say I know the survivor Larissa Boyce and her family.