On Tuesday, girls and young women looked their convicted sexual abuser in the face, disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar. Disguising his sexual abuse as "treatment," Nassar, who now faces life in prison, molested nearly 100 female athletes, and often. Some of the victims were just small children when the abuse began.
Gymnast Kyle Stephens, for example, was just six years old when Nassar began victimizing her. The doctor convinced Stephens' parents that she was lying about the abuse early on, she says. When her father came to understand that the molestation was real, it pushed him to commit suicide, she believes.
"Little girls don't stay little forever," Stephens said coldly. "They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world."
The coward never even looked up to meet her eyeline.
Here's some of Stephens' powerful testimony, transcript via CNN:
Without my knowledge or consent I had engaged in my first sexual experience by kindergarten and had joined an overwhelming statistic of sexual abuse victims.
You used my body for six years for your own sexual gratification. That is unforgivable. I've told counselors your name in hopes that they would report you. I have reported you to child protective services twice. I gave a testament to get your medical license revoked.
You used my body for six years ...
You were first arrested on my charges, and now, as the only non-medical victim to come forward, I testify to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar and that those treatments were pathetically veiled sexual abuse.
Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women who return to destroy your world.
Your Honor, there is no time that Larry Nassar can serve that will give me back those years with my family.
Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting 10 girls, reports NBC, though he's been accused by dozens more, such as gold medalists Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, and most recently, Simone Biles.
Chelsey Markham, a former gymnast who committed suicide in 2009, was represented by her mother, Donna. "Every day I miss her and it all started with him," said Donna. "It all started with him."
"We got in the car (after a session with Nassar) and she started bawling and I said, 'Chelsea tell me what's wrong,' and she said 'Mom, he put his fingers in me, and they weren't gloved,'" she painfully recalled.
"I said, 'Chelsea I was right there in the room,' and she goes, 'You couldn't see what was going on, mom.' And she said, 'He hurt me.'"
"For my daughter it became a serious, serious bout of depression. So in 2009 she took her own life because she couldn't deal with the pain anymore," Donna continued. "It will be 10 years in March that I lost my baby. She was 23 years old. And every day I miss her. Every day. And it all started with him."
Jessica Thomashow, 17, was abused at ages 9 and 12. "He touched the most innocent places on my body that day," she said.
"I also developed an intense fear of male hands, like a PTSD response," Thomashow said. "Now I get flashbacks when I see male hands and it makes me feel scared and threatened. This fear changed the way I grew up and how I related to boys. I didn't want to hold hands or ever be close to my guy friends."
Now 18, victim Madeleine Jones described the horror of being molested by Nassar at just age 11 while he "talked about Catholicism with my mother."
Before every appointment, I cried in the bathroom. And after every appointment, I couldn't wait to get home to shower because I always left his office feeling so dirty. Yet, no amount of showers made me feel clean at all.
Before every appointment, I cried in the bathroom.
You talked about Catholicism with my mother while sexually violating me. You clearly never took that to heart. You saw me, a little child of God, as an object you could use to make yourself feel more powerful. You took away my power, my self-worth, my emotional development, my happiness and my innocence.
Another victim, gymnast Annette Hill, said in court, "I often think of suicide."
Other victims who spoke out against Nassar in the Michigan courtroom include Chelsea Williams, Nicole Walker, Jennifer Hayes, Amanda Thomashow, Kate Mahon, Jennifer Rood Bedford, Bethany Bauman, Alexis Moore, Olivia Cowan, and Jade Capua.
"Nassar sat in the witness box with his head down," NBC reports. "At times his body shook, and he occasionally seemed to be crying. He has already been sentenced to 60 years on the federal child pornography charges, and he could get double that on the state sexual abuse charges."