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Abuse Survivor Rachael Denhollander Urges Followers Not To Rejoice Over Larry Nassar Stabbing

larry nassar
L: Rachael Denhollander. Screenshot from YouTube / @wisdomofthewounded5302. R: FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2017 file photo, Dr. Larry Nassar appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing, Mich. Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing female gymnasts, was stabbed multiple times during an altercation with another incarcerated person at a federal prison in Florida. Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press the attack happened Sunday at United States Penitentiary Coleman in Florida. The people said he was in stable condition Monday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor who was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and for receiving and possessing child sex abuse materials, was stabbed in prison Sunday, according to The Associated Press. Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault, responded to the news by exhorting people not to revel in it.

“Justice is conformity to what is right. It should be pursued and fought for. Forgiveness is releasing personal vengeance and desiring for the offender to find true repentance and peace. I am holding both especially today,” Denhollander, who is a Christian, tweeted Monday morning.

“None of the women I’ve spoken with are rejoicing today,” Denhollander said in a separate tweet. “We’re grieving the destruction across so much. We’re grieving the reality that protecting others from him came with the near-certainty we would wake up to this someday.”

Larry Nassar Survives Prison Stabbing

Larry Nassar was a doctor for Michigan State University and the United States national gymnastics team. In his position as a trusted and respected physician, he serially molested minors for years. Numerous people in positions of authority ignored red flags and reports from girls who said that Nassar had sexually assaulted them. 

Rachael Denhollander’s willingness to come forward with evidence of her abuse paved the way for hundreds of young women to voice their stories also. Multiple Olympians said Nassar abused them, including Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.

Nassar was sentenced three times, the last of those in February 2018, for charges relating to sexual assault and child sex abuse materials, after which he was transferred to federal prison in Arizona. Nassar was assaulted there in May 2018, shortly after being released to the general prison population. The former doctor is currently being held in the United States Penitentiary, Coleman, a high-security federal prison in Florida. 

Two people with knowledge about Nassar’s stabbing spoke to The Associated Press under condition of anonymity. According to these sources, after getting into an altercation with another inmate Sunday, Nassar was stabbed multiple times in the front and back. He was taken to a hospital and is now reportedly in stable condition

The prison is experiencing staffing shortages, and the two officers working during the time of the incident were both on overtime shifts.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons would not corroborate Nassar’s identity, but did confirm that an inmate was assaulted at the Coleman prison on Sunday afternoon. No other inmates or prison staff were injured in the episode. 

“Please – do not comment on news articles or post jokes, memes, gifs, about this,” said Rachael Denhollander. “I wrestled so often with the reality that this headline would come. So many of us knew and we carried that weight when we spoke up too. Far too many lives destroyed. Including his own.”

Denhollander emphasized that love and justice work together, and that they are opposed to vengeance. “For ALL our sakes, we desperately wish he had chosen differently,” she said. “The farthest we can run from what Larry became, is to love. That isn’t at odds with justice, but it means we aren’t finding entertainment value in destruction either.”