Hudsonville, MI –The Children’s Advocacy Center of Ottawa County is excited to hold our 9th annual Advocates in Action Luncheon at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville on Friday, May 4, 2018 at 11:00 am. All proceeds from this event will go directly to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Ottawa County.
This year the keynote speaker for the Advocates in Action Luncheon will be Rachael Denhollander. Rachael is the first victim to come forward in the Larry Nassar child sexual abuse case. Rachael began a career in gymnastics at the age of 12 which would put her in the path of one of the country’s most prolific pedophiles: Michigan State University’s (MSU) famed osteopathic physician, Larry Nassar. Nassar was an expert in gymnastics-related injuries and served as the Olympic team physician and National Medical Coordinator for the women’s artistic gymnastics programs. Rachael began to see Larry Nassar for treatment shortly after her 15th birthday and was sexually assaulted by him under the guise of medical treatment for nearly a year.
In 2016, the Indianapolis Star published an explosive report on the United States Association of Gymnastics (USAG) detailing decades of mishandling sexual assault allegations against member coaches. Reading the report, she knew it was the first chance that someone might finally believe that USAG’s own team physician was also a sexual predator. She contacted the IndyStar immediately to report her abuse by Larry and told them she would do whatever was needed to make sure Larry could no longer prey on women and children.
Following her initial report, Larry was arrested and then indicted for charges related to child pornography and to sexually assaulting minors in two Michigan counties. In July of 2017, Larry plead guilty to three charges related to child pornography and in November plead guilty to ten counts of first-degree sexual assault, including the charges brought in Rachael’s case. To-date, more than 125 women have filed police reports of sexual assault against Nassar and more than 140 have accused him in criminal or civil complaints of sexual assault.
Rachael has continued to advocate for the victims and speak publicly to confront the institutional and societal dynamics that made it possible for Larry to abuse women and children for more than 20 years. She has appeared on NBC, CBS, HLN, CNN, ESPN and numerous state and local news services. Rachael has advocated for victims through print journalism in The Washington Post, Fox News, PEOPLE Magazine and many state and local newspapers and has been interviewed on many state and national radio programs. Her passion is to help others understand the impact of sexual assault so that each person is better equipped to offer help and care to those affected by sexual assault, to explore and understand the societal dynamics surrounding sexual assault, and to advocate for the societal and institutional reform necessary to better protect women and children from sexual violence.
The Children's Advocacy Center provides child sexual abuse intervention and prevention services to residents of Ottawa County completely free of charge. Child sexual abuse is an often unseen, but devastating problem in our local communities as well as throughout the country. One in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The Children's Advocacy Center helps reduce the trauma to children and their families and educate parents and children about body safety. We cannot do it without you. Join us for our 9th Annual Advocates in Action Luncheon to raise community awareness and offer your support.
For ticket information or sponsorship opportunities, contact Rebekah Bakker at (616)393-6123 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.