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What Is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics

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Recipient of Sports Illustrated's Inspiration of the Year Award and one of Time's 100 Most Influential People (2018) "Who is going to tell these little girls that what was done to them matters? That they are seen and valued, that they are not alone and they are not unprotected?" Rachael Denhollander's voice was heard around the world when she spoke out to end the most shocking scandal in US gymnastics hist/>"Who Recipient of Sports Illustrated's Inspiration of the Year Award and one of Time's 100 Most Influential People (2018) "Who is going to tell these little girls that what was done to them matters? That they are seen and valued, that they are not alone and they are not unprotected?" Rachael Denhollander's voice was heard around the world when she spoke out to end the most shocking scandal in US gymnastics history. The first victim to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who abused hundreds of young athletes, Rachael now reveals her full story for the first time. How did Nassar get away with it for so long? How did Rachael and the other survivors finally stop him and bring him to justice? And how can we protect the vulnerable in our own families, churches, and communities? What Is a Girl Worth? is the inspiring true story of Rachael's journey from an idealistic young gymnast to a strong and determined woman who found the courage to raise her voice against evil, even when she thought the world might not listen. This deeply personal and compelling narrative shines a spotlight on the physical and emotional impact of abuse, why so many survivors are reluctant to speak out, what it means to be believed, the extraordinary power of faith and forgiveness, and how we can learn to do what's right in the moments that matter most.


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Recipient of Sports Illustrated's Inspiration of the Year Award and one of Time's 100 Most Influential People (2018) "Who is going to tell these little girls that what was done to them matters? That they are seen and valued, that they are not alone and they are not unprotected?" Rachael Denhollander's voice was heard around the world when she spoke out to end the most shocking scandal in US gymnastics hist/>"Who Recipient of Sports Illustrated's Inspiration of the Year Award and one of Time's 100 Most Influential People (2018) "Who is going to tell these little girls that what was done to them matters? That they are seen and valued, that they are not alone and they are not unprotected?" Rachael Denhollander's voice was heard around the world when she spoke out to end the most shocking scandal in US gymnastics history. The first victim to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who abused hundreds of young athletes, Rachael now reveals her full story for the first time. How did Nassar get away with it for so long? How did Rachael and the other survivors finally stop him and bring him to justice? And how can we protect the vulnerable in our own families, churches, and communities? What Is a Girl Worth? is the inspiring true story of Rachael's journey from an idealistic young gymnast to a strong and determined woman who found the courage to raise her voice against evil, even when she thought the world might not listen. This deeply personal and compelling narrative shines a spotlight on the physical and emotional impact of abuse, why so many survivors are reluctant to speak out, what it means to be believed, the extraordinary power of faith and forgiveness, and how we can learn to do what's right in the moments that matter most.

30 review for What Is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Darby Stouffer

    REVIEW: How Much Is A Girl Worth? I have eagerly followed Rachael Denhollander since she first appeared “on the scene” when she bravely spoke with Christian love and wisdom at her abuser’s trial. I was so thrilled to learn she was writing a book, and so pleased to be able to get an advance copy to review for you, my friends. I truly, truly cannot recommend this book enough. If you are an abuse survivor, you will feel seen, understood, ministered to, and pointed to Christ. If you are m REVIEW: How Much Is A Girl Worth? I have eagerly followed Rachael Denhollander since she first appeared “on the scene” when she bravely spoke with Christian love and wisdom at her abuser’s trial. I was so thrilled to learn she was writing a book, and so pleased to be able to get an advance copy to review for you, my friends. I truly, truly cannot recommend this book enough. If you are an abuse survivor, you will feel seen, understood, ministered to, and pointed to Christ. If you are married to an abuse survivor, you will see a beautiful and inspirational picture of a marriage that thrives in spite of those difficult obstacles. If you want to know more about the struggles of abuse survivors, how their minds work, what they need the most, and how you can help, this book is for you. If you are a committed Christian who still struggles with how rampant sexual abuse is in our culture and in our churches, this book will stir you to prayer and to action without embittering you. I 100% recommend it, and would even say that for any who may have potentially heard negative things about Rachael in other venues, that this book might really help you see her heart for justice but also her commitment to Christian principles in the process. **Disclaimer** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for providing an honest review. My opinions and words are solely my own.**

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Mcknight

    This story is not for the faint of heart. The author is a strong, resilient and tenacious person who fights for girls (including herself) who have been sexually abused so that their voices are heard. The institutional coverups by Michigan State University, and US Olympic Committee and the US Gymnastics organization are appalling. This book is an eye-opener and is recommended for every parent and adult who desires to be an advocate for children.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    What is a girl worth? More than just the title of the book, this is the theme and question that is woven into every fiber of the book. From the first page to the last, you are presented over and over again with the dichotomy of people and institutions who do things right against those who cannot seem to do anything but wrong. Or, in other words, those who recognize and extend value and those who don't.       Rachael's memoir is not for those who want to avoid the hard situations or wh What is a girl worth? More than just the title of the book, this is the theme and question that is woven into every fiber of the book. From the first page to the last, you are presented over and over again with the dichotomy of people and institutions who do things right against those who cannot seem to do anything but wrong. Or, in other words, those who recognize and extend value and those who don't.       Rachael's memoir is not for those who want to avoid the hard situations or who shy away from the dark side of the news. Though I suspect that most people who pick up this book will already be at least partially familiar with her and the other survivor's stories. In case you don't know, this book is talks about sexual abuse in detail including not just the immediate horrors, but its long-lasting effects on victims and their families. This book also spends the majority of it's time dealing with the arrest and ultimate conviction of Larry Nassar, one of the most prolific pedophiles and sexual abusers in US history. Along the way to that conviction this book does not shy away from the mistakes, lies, or failures of individuals, institutions, or the legal system that allowed this abuse to continue for decades      One of the things that Rachael has done so beautifully with this book is to explain not just by definition but also by example what she means by worth. Or, what it is to value something. She is consistently contrasting faithful, sacrificial love of her family, her husband, and the church against the selfish desires of her abuser, institutions, coaches, and, unfortunately, the church. To understand her definition of worth and how it is expressed, Rachael walks you through not just her abuse, but also through her journals, her thoughts, and scripture that helped her. She pulls everything back to this source and asks the question, "What is good and what is evil?" From that point she moves forward. What do we do with good? What do we do with evil? How is worth or value expressed? The reader soon finds out in her story that while love is the answer, it can often come with a price. That doing good with the right motives does not make you exempt from the loss of friends, family, and relationships. "Love is the motivation that will give joy and peace when doing the right thing is hard and hurts." On a personal note, sexual abuse is a topic about which I wish I could say it has never impacted me personally. Unfortunately, I can't say that. The feelings of anger, shame, guilt, and loss are real and raw. Rachael wasn't afraid to confront those feelings head on. Also, while this memoir ends in partial resolution, it feels like nibbling on croutons while waiting for the gourmet dinner. But even here Rachael is helpful; God is good and he is just. His justice will be realized in time. We are simply called to love well and be faithful. "Success (isn't) defined by a result but by faithfulness." And what is success? "Always be motivated by love." Full disclosure - I was given a copy of this book as a gift from the promotional team. That has not biased my decision in any way or impacted my review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Raw. Real. Heartbreaking beyond belief. Immense thanks to Rachael Denhollander for being brave enough to share her story. My youngest daughter was a competitive gymnast for ten years, and we have been following this story closely since it broke. My heart is shattered for what these girls went through at the hands of this doctor, but also for the fact that it was next to impossible for the perpetrator to be tried and convicted. We must do better for victims of assault of any variety, but esp Raw. Real. Heartbreaking beyond belief. Immense thanks to Rachael Denhollander for being brave enough to share her story. My youngest daughter was a competitive gymnast for ten years, and we have been following this story closely since it broke. My heart is shattered for what these girls went through at the hands of this doctor, but also for the fact that it was next to impossible for the perpetrator to be tried and convicted. We must do better for victims of assault of any variety, but especially those young children who are either so confused, frightened, or coerced into silence--or worse, those who are not believed or are even blamed for the assault. This is a very, very difficult book to read. If you have a history with sexual abuse, definitely come into this reading with some emotional protection because it will likely bring so much to the forefront. I cried buckets of tears for these young ladies, and pray that their path to healing is taking place. Rachael does not hide that her strength lies in her faith in God, but she doesn't sugar coat her deep anguish and wrestling with God to attempt to understand why evil occurs in the world. Her faith is the framework of this story, but if you don't have these same beliefs, don't let that stop you from reading her story. Because if her experiences help just one victim to have their story told, it will be worth it. I recommend that everyone read this book. Listen to people when they communicate possible abuse. Believe them. Fight for them. Fight for the truth. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ericka

    Incredibly well-written and compelling look at the story behind Rachael Denhollander's courageous battle to take down Larry Nassar. She gives you every detail on how she strategically planned to ensure the truth came out. Reading, however, you will learn that this was much more than just about Nassar. Rachael sends a powerful message about community protectionism, the power of Christ's love and JUSTICE. I couldn't put it down and was honored she would share her story in so much honest, beautiful Incredibly well-written and compelling look at the story behind Rachael Denhollander's courageous battle to take down Larry Nassar. She gives you every detail on how she strategically planned to ensure the truth came out. Reading, however, you will learn that this was much more than just about Nassar. Rachael sends a powerful message about community protectionism, the power of Christ's love and JUSTICE. I couldn't put it down and was honored she would share her story in so much honest, beautiful detail.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Todd Starowitz

    This is a culture-changing book and a must read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Calvinist Batman

    Note: I read this book while also reading Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse by Jennifer Michelle Greenberg. As they are both about abuse, their respective reviews might bleed together somewhat. Reading both together, I saw many similarities between them and the differences I saw between the two books showed their unique strengths. I strongly recommend reading both books, though they are unrelated outside of topic. I am in awe of this book. I was torn apart by this book. SUMMARY/> Note: I read this book while also reading Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse by Jennifer Michelle Greenberg. As they are both about abuse, their respective reviews might bleed together somewhat. Reading both together, I saw many similarities between them and the differences I saw between the two books showed their unique strengths. I strongly recommend reading both books, though they are unrelated outside of topic. I am in awe of this book. I was torn apart by this book. SUMMARY There are a lot of memoirs in the world. When something tragic happens, it is almost expected for the victims and survivors to write a book about it, detailing their side of the story and what really happened. This is not that kind of book. Denhollander is expertly and passionately focused on one thing: detailing what happens when people and organizations don't value children/people, particularly women and girls. This book will break you over and over again. At one point while reading (and even now) I said "I'm physically crying and I'm screaming on the inside without end.". Other readers reached out to me to tell me they were feeling the same way. Denhollander's book isn't about MSU or the USAG. It's not even about Larry Nassar. It's about how our culture looks at, treats, and abuses females, even children. It's about how we don't listen, believe, or properly engage with abuse victims/survivors. Simply put: we are not getting this right. THE GOOD I am in awe at this book. Not just for how strong and unbelievably caring Denhollander is, but for how great of a writer she is. I checked, there's no ghostwriter. She crafted this book. Every word is poignant. As a lawyer, she knows how to build a case, and as a mother she knows how to craft a convicting story. It is so well written that I cannot adequately put my feelings to words. This has been the best book I have read this year. Hands down. It's that good. Audiobook note: I had the privilege of listening to Denhollander read her own story/book about her own experiences. If you think reading the book is emotionally heavy, the audiobook will tear you apart (in good ways). She's a wonderful narrator. I'm glad that she trusted no one but herself to write/narrate her story. It's all the better for it. This book really helps people see what's inside the mind of a sexual abuse victim/survivor. It immediately starts tackling the (ignorant) questions like "Why don't victims say something when it happens?". By the end of the book, I was left with a profound respect for victims and survivors and a heart that bleeds for them and others that might be affected). On a separate note, I found the cover incredibly clever and well designed. Props to the publisher and designer for that. The hardcover book is beautiful. It should win an award. This book also gave me a new respect for journalists and prosecutors that actually care and do their job incredibly well. In our current age, it's good to be reminded that there are sincere people out there doing great work. I also admired Jacob in this book. What an example of a Christian husband. This is what true complementarianism (should we even use that word anymore?) looks like. Denhollander's foundational roots in the gospel shine through in this book. On every page. This is what happens when a true Christian truly loves. THE CHALLENGES I found absolutely zero issues with this book. It was a delight, as hard as the book was to read. CONCLUSION What we think and believe about personhood and the inherent worth of a person matters. Denhollander does more than she needed to. In fact, she never should have needed to share her story, to keep repeating details about her abuse, day after day, interview after interview, book proof over proof. The situation never should've happened at all, and after happening she shouldn't have had to walk through and the share the details with people, over and over again. This has cost her almost everything, including her privacy. But to quote Denhollander: "The more you love, the harder you fight." Without going into detail, this book has changed my life. The realizations and revelations have made a significant impact in my life. I want to love more. I want to fight more. I want to be an oasis of care for victims and survivors. There are victims and survivors all around us. Something has to change. Something is changing. Five stars. ---------------------------- Also check out Rachael Denhollander's children's book: How Much Is a Little Girl Worth? Side-note to my Reformed followers: How many books do we have to read before we realize that there are certain beliefs and connections in our reformed theology that allow for abusers to stay hidden and thrive?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Mwanthi

    "How Much is a Girl Worth?" is so much more than a memoir. It begins with a dedication "To every survivor.... it is not your fault. It is not Your shame. You are believed. May you know how much you are worth." It ends with, "So much work remains. So much evil to fight. So much healing to reach for. So many wounded to love. Consider this your invitation to join in that work. To do what is right, no matter the cost. To hold to the straight lines in the midst of the battle. To define your success b "How Much is a Girl Worth?" is so much more than a memoir. It begins with a dedication "To every survivor.... it is not your fault. It is not Your shame. You are believed. May you know how much you are worth." It ends with, "So much work remains. So much evil to fight. So much healing to reach for. So many wounded to love. Consider this your invitation to join in that work. To do what is right, no matter the cost. To hold to the straight lines in the midst of the battle. To define your success by faithfulness in the choices you make. The darkness is there, and we cannot ignore it. But we can let it point us to the light." In between there is a beautifully written account or one survivors journey not just towards justice but towards acting faithfully, acting to protect, acting to love. This is a book that will make you cry. You might throw the book across the room as you read of adults not caring, not responding, not protecting, not loving, little girls. We read the consequences of not valuing little girls. The mishandling of sexual abuse never occurs in a vacuum but it occurs within organizations that have determined something is more important than protecting the vulnerable. And while this is a story of one organization, of one survivor, what must be recognized is this is the story of sexual abuse survivors across the country. People ignoring, minimizing, and not caring about the story. People finding it more convenient to ignore reported abuse than to investigate. People who view their personal comfort as more valuable than little girls. However, the gift most evident in this book is Rachael herself. She bares her soul in a way that is so personal. She shares pain common to all who have suffered sexual abuse. She gives a window into the soul of one who has been abused. If you know and love a survivor, this book will give you a window to struggles they may have. Who should read this book? Anyone who loves any girl be it wife, daughter, niece, sister, grandma. IT's easy to think we would never allow a Nasser like abuser to be present in our space, but too many of us have stories with many similarities. May we learn from this story to act faithfully and to recognize that little girls are "Worth fighting for Justice, worth standing alone, worth whatever it takes for your worth to be shown" (taken from How Much is a Little Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander). Rachael's life demonstrated that she believed that and sacrificed greatly with little hope of exposing evil. May each of us strive for similar faithfulness no matter what!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    This is such an important and powerful book I'm afraid my words will not do it justice. An incredibly emotional read (I teared up at least 5 times!), Rachael speaks truth out of a desire to love...to love what is just...to love what is right...to love sacrificially. In the face of gutwrentching and graphic sexual abuse, she boldy proclaims over and over: "Love has to be your motivation." This isn't an easy read. It is uncomfortable. It is blunt. It forced me as man and leader in the c This is such an important and powerful book I'm afraid my words will not do it justice. An incredibly emotional read (I teared up at least 5 times!), Rachael speaks truth out of a desire to love...to love what is just...to love what is right...to love sacrificially. In the face of gutwrentching and graphic sexual abuse, she boldy proclaims over and over: "Love has to be your motivation." This isn't an easy read. It is uncomfortable. It is blunt. It forced me as man and leader in the church to face the times I have unknowingly contributed to keeping an important voice from speaking her pain and suffering. It forced me to think about the times I've asked some of the questions that heap shame or keep others from speaking, like "why didn't you say something?" And facing situations where I have suffered the abuse of another, though infinitesimally smaller than anything Rachael or these other women had to endure, I felt understood. There are important lessons to be learned here. Things we need to grapple with and do better engaging. This is particularly true for the church! No more covering-up, refusing to believe, or creating a culture where it isn't safe to share. The examples Rachael gives of her own church are horrifying while providing a mirror for us to evaluate our culture and policies. I love the quote she shares by CS Lewis: “My argument against God was that the universe seems so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of unjust and just? A man does not call a line crooked unless he first has some idea of straight. What was I comparing the universe to when I called it unjust?” This should be required reading for pastors and other church leaders, counselors, teachers, social workers, coaches, politicians, and so many more. Rachael says some incredibly brave and difficult things for us to hear; yet in doing so, she reminds us how God's grace can meet us and propel us to stand for what is good and just while at the same time pleading for God's mercy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessi Irwin

    I was worried about bringing this book as a vacation read, thinking the material would be too heavy and depressing. While some points were indeed heartbreaking/infuriating, it was also so full of courage and hope that I couldn't put it down. I had followed Rachael's story on social media and in the press but this memoir format really drew me in. I had also listened to the NPR podcast and I enjoyed hearing about the involved individuals from Rachael's perspective. As someone who has participated I was worried about bringing this book as a vacation read, thinking the material would be too heavy and depressing. While some points were indeed heartbreaking/infuriating, it was also so full of courage and hope that I couldn't put it down. I had followed Rachael's story on social media and in the press but this memoir format really drew me in. I had also listened to the NPR podcast and I enjoyed hearing about the involved individuals from Rachael's perspective. As someone who has participated in advocacy work, I was so inspired by the Denhollander's pursuit of justice and desire to protect others. The intentionality with which they took every step speaks to how carefully the walls of defense are constructed around institutions and powerful people. I didn't understand this until I lived it via spiritual abuse, but hopefully Rachael has spelled it out clearly enough that others can understand this phenoma without having to experience it firsthand. That being said, the audacity and boldness with which her abuser operated still shocked me, and I read about abuse daily (although I hope to always be shocked by evil, honestly). Her exposure of the tactics of predators and the protection that they are provided in this book makes it an important read. I also thought to myself while reading that she was the perfect person to be the representative of victims, which is terrible that you need a "perfect" victim in order for anyone to listen. To be clear, I didn't sense self-righteousness in her story, just Rachael's realization that she was in a very unique position to be able to use her voice and she chose to do so. Her story also gave a clear picture of the cost of speaking up and fighting for justice, which is a side many don't realize. Obviously most victims who advocate don't do so in the national spotlight, but the retraumitization, the criticism, disrespect, etc. is very real and a risk many can't take. Another aspect that struck me was Rachael's respectful treatment of survivors, wherever they were in their process. She chose to speak out and knew the chance of justice would be higher if others did as well, but she did not place that expection on anyone else. While this was the story of someone who spoke up, I sensed a care for survivors and victims who could not make that same choice. The author has an evangelical worldview but this shouldn't deter anyone who does not share that theology (unless you are an exvangelical or victim of spiritual abuse who gets triggered-proceed with caution). While Denhollander expresses her beliefs at times in the book, she is also honest about how her institutional church failed to support victims both of USAG and SGM. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I couldn't put it down. Such a moving practical theology of justice, so needed in a world that denies the value of women as God's beloved daughters. I'll want my own daughters to read this ASAP. Thanks Rachael!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Neville Longbottom

    If I were basing my rating solely on Rachael’s determination and bravery in coming forward to bring Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics to justice then I’d give this book a 5 star rating. However, the writing, the structure, and emphasis on some topics held me back from that being my actual rating. I’m aware this is an unfair comparison, but reading this right after finishing All the President's Men really showed off the difference in the quality of writing between the two books. This is definitely an If I were basing my rating solely on Rachael’s determination and bravery in coming forward to bring Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics to justice then I’d give this book a 5 star rating. However, the writing, the structure, and emphasis on some topics held me back from that being my actual rating. I’m aware this is an unfair comparison, but reading this right after finishing All the President's Men really showed off the difference in the quality of writing between the two books. This is definitely an important read. It can help people understand why a survivor might wait a long time to come forward about their abuse. It details how someone can freeze instead having a fight or flight response. It shows how someone might not first understand what was being done to them is actually abuse. It explains how systems can end up protecting abusers instead of protecting the people they prey on. A lot of this book is recreating conversations that Rachael had with people in her life surrounding the abuse. Most non-fiction where there aren’t actual records of what was being said just focuses on getting the gist of what was being said, even if it isn’t verbatim. The dialogue that was written in the book just came across as really stilted and not natural human conversation. Maybe this isn’t a fair criticism since I wasn’t there when she was talking to her mom as a teenager, but a lot of the writing in a lot of the book just seemed off. Also, especially in the first half of the book I felt like there was too much time spent covering things that didn’t directly relate to “Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics.” Related to that, I wasn’t aware that there was going to be such a focus on religion in here. I don’t want to say this is a negative thing since god is obviously important to Rachael, but that’s just not something I’m interested in reading about. I almost feel bad giving this book anything other than a completely glowing review because I do have so much respect for Rachael and everything she’s done. But just as a book, this didn’t completely work for me. I think I would’ve been better off reading a book that covered the Nassar/USA Gymnastics case as a whole rather than one person’s story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Doogan

    This is truly an incredible book. Denhollander tells her story with so much courage. It was an honor to get to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Akers

    "People have no idea what it costs survivors to stop an abuser." @R_Denhollander #WhatIsAGirlWorth This book is something every parent ought to read. Every teacher. Every coach. Every law enforcement member. Every pastor. Every adult who loves children. The cost of doing the right things always goes up the more removed the need is from it's cause. Rachael illustrates this in no uncertain terms. So much heartache, so many wounds, so many damage done could have been avoided h "People have no idea what it costs survivors to stop an abuser." @R_Denhollander #WhatIsAGirlWorth This book is something every parent ought to read. Every teacher. Every coach. Every law enforcement member. Every pastor. Every adult who loves children. The cost of doing the right things always goes up the more removed the need is from it's cause. Rachael illustrates this in no uncertain terms. So much heartache, so many wounds, so many damage done could have been avoided had those with the ability had seen the need and acted. Get this book. Read it. Learn from it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jim Savastio

    A brilliant book by a brilliant author. A very emotional read on numerous levels--anger, sorrow, frustration, as well as joy. Rachael tells not only her own story in a thoroughly readable and compelling way, but stands a voice for the millions of nameless victims and often get no earthly justice. Rachael's story is ultimately a testimony to the power of love.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Persis

    I stayed up later than I intended last night and finished "What is a Girl Worth?". I had followed the Nassar case after connecting with Jacob Denhollander on Twitter. He shared his wife’s story in the Indy Star article – a victim/survivor who had come forward to stop an evil man who had been abusing children for decades. As I read the articles and watched the news coverage, Rachael came across as so brave, strong, and capable. Her training as an attorney was evident in the clarity and power of h I stayed up later than I intended last night and finished "What is a Girl Worth?". I had followed the Nassar case after connecting with Jacob Denhollander on Twitter. He shared his wife’s story in the Indy Star article – a victim/survivor who had come forward to stop an evil man who had been abusing children for decades. As I read the articles and watched the news coverage, Rachael came across as so brave, strong, and capable. Her training as an attorney was evident in the clarity and power of her carefully chosen words. But her book reveals what was going on behind the scenes – Would anyone believe her and take this seriously? Was it too late to report? The internal turmoil and re-traumatization of having to retell her abuse. Turning her private journals over to Nassar’s defense team knowing that her abuser would be reading them himself. Waiting to be attacked personally by attempts to rip her reputation to shreds by powerful people in powerful organizations. Wondering if the case would be dismissed and her abuser allowed to continue unchecked. Fearing that this sacrifice was all in vain. This is what it costs a survivor to speak, and the cost is great. But it was counted and paid for the sake of justice and for the sake of all the little girls Larry Nassar abused. "What is a Girl Worth?" was hard to put down. My heart ached for Rachael when she struggled to make sense of what happened to her, when she doubted herself, and wrestled with her faith. As I read, there was times when I asked myself, “Where on earth did she get the courage and stamina to do this?” But I think the answer is by the grace and power of God and the love and support of her family. But Rachael has also had more than her fair share of friendly fire. In fact, she and Jacob were pretty much told to stop speaking and posting publicly about child abuse and the SGM situation because if differed from the position their current church leaders were taking. I literally sat in silence for a few minutes digesting that paragraph because I was stunned. What are people really choosing to protect? This is probably the most emotional book review I have ever written. But when it comes to child abuse, maybe we need a little more feeling because our hearts have grown calloused. There’s plenty of outrage for a host of things, but where is the righteous anger against this heinous sin? Perhaps it is because we don’t love the least of these as we should. Perhaps this reveals the state of our love for God. And I wonder what would happen in the church and beyond if we had a fraction of Rachael Denhollander's courage to count the cost and protect the vulnerable within our walls? I pray books like "What is a Girl Worth?" will educate but also challenge the complacency and coldness of our hearts. God have mercy on us.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Winslow

    This book was really triggering for me, so it took me weeks to finish reading it. But damn, was it worth the read. Now I just have to think of a subtle way to send a bunch of copies to the Christians in my life who shrugged, stayed silent, or openly dismissed abuse disclosures... I'm leaning towards "I really enjoyed this book and it made me think of you! Especially the highlighted portions where the author's church ignores her when she stands up to her rapist. XOXO, Winslow." #NailedIt

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "What is a little girl worth?" Rachel Denhollander took the right path, the hard path, the misunderstood path . . . paving the way towards justice for the hundreds of little girls, including herself, who had endured the abusive touches of Dr. Larry Nassar, a highly esteemed USA Gymnastics team doctor, operating his medical practice on the campus of Michigan State University. Rachel, her family, and her legal team spent hours, days, and months of endless documentation and evidence retrieval; atte "What is a little girl worth?" Rachel Denhollander took the right path, the hard path, the misunderstood path . . . paving the way towards justice for the hundreds of little girls, including herself, who had endured the abusive touches of Dr. Larry Nassar, a highly esteemed USA Gymnastics team doctor, operating his medical practice on the campus of Michigan State University. Rachel, her family, and her legal team spent hours, days, and months of endless documentation and evidence retrieval; attempting to do what no one else had accomplished; giving voice to Nassar's victims in a court of law. Her journey, including its many ups and downs, is the story of courage and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds and the constant possibility of defeat; having to publicly verbalize many private details while answering many invasive questions. In the end, "everything is what these children are worth" and truth prevailed. "There are two major purposes in our criminal justice system . . . the pursuit of justice and the protection of the innocent . . . . "

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    3.5/5 stars. Unfortunately, as much as it pains me to say it...this wasn't all that well-written. There were so many moments, so many pieces of dialogue, that were just so incredibly cringe-worthy. The worst part is, many of these instances came during an incredibly powerful and/or heartbreaking moment of the book. So I would be so incredibly invested, in tears or nearing there, and then there'd be a line of dialogue or a cliche-sounding sentence, and it would bring me right back out. 3.5/5 stars. Unfortunately, as much as it pains me to say it...this wasn't all that well-written. There were so many moments, so many pieces of dialogue, that were just so incredibly cringe-worthy. The worst part is, many of these instances came during an incredibly powerful and/or heartbreaking moment of the book. So I would be so incredibly invested, in tears or nearing there, and then there'd be a line of dialogue or a cliche-sounding sentence, and it would bring me right back out. Despite all that, I'd still argue that this is an incredibly important book. And it's a powerful book--Rachael Denhollander has such amazing and admirable strength and courage and resilience, and all of that shown through here. What she did cannot be quantified. The worth of what she did has the same answer as the title of her book--what is a girl worth? Everything. And what Denhollander accomplished and went through and survived? Also worth -everything-. She helped change the world. A world that still needs so much more change, but is a little bit better because of what she did.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Flynn Evans

    This is a decidedly incisive and sobering account of what it means to be a survivor without ever losing hope in one’s true dignity in the eyes of God. Denhollander shows us how to use the power of love in the pursuit of truth so that those who are voiceless might finally find the words to speak.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Abby Alam

    Rachael shares her harrowing story of her journey as a young girl into the world of gymnastics and the sexual abuse she was exposed to that was running rampant for hundreds of other little girls as well. As an adult, she saw an opportunity to expose her abuser and bravely stood up for herself and all the other young women who experienced abuse at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar. This book was honest, engaging, and hard to put down. I followed Rachael’s story in the news and the whole trial as it h Rachael shares her harrowing story of her journey as a young girl into the world of gymnastics and the sexual abuse she was exposed to that was running rampant for hundreds of other little girls as well. As an adult, she saw an opportunity to expose her abuser and bravely stood up for herself and all the other young women who experienced abuse at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar. This book was honest, engaging, and hard to put down. I followed Rachael’s story in the news and the whole trial as it happened in 2018. I can’t recommend this book enough for sexual abuse survivors, friends, spouses, family members or just anyone who wants to understand how sexual abuse happens so frequently with such inconspicuous perpetrators. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Not a pleasant read, but a needed one. Dads and pastors need to read this book. Rachael Denhollander shares a first-person account of her life, from victim to woman of strength - a real-life narrative of light and darkness, courage and wickedness, hope and pain. As she did when she spoke in the courtroom, she roots her convictions in the justice of God and in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a powerful story, but it's also an apologetic for the Christian faith. Without a just Creator above and o Not a pleasant read, but a needed one. Dads and pastors need to read this book. Rachael Denhollander shares a first-person account of her life, from victim to woman of strength - a real-life narrative of light and darkness, courage and wickedness, hope and pain. As she did when she spoke in the courtroom, she roots her convictions in the justice of God and in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a powerful story, but it's also an apologetic for the Christian faith. Without a just Creator above and outside the world, there is no objective standard by which to differentiate good and evil in it. "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    Phew. What a story. Lord, have mercy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susannah

    Eye-opening and love-of-Christ motivated look into the impact of sexual abuse and the impact of people who look the other way instead of protecting and listening. Very worthwhile, despite tough content.

  25. 5 out of 5

    E.

    An incredible read. Denhollander uses her story to shed light on the dynamics of sexual abuse and what victims face in attempting to expose it. Hopefully, people who might not pick up a manual on how to respond to sexual abuse will be more interested in reading a book like this, which confronts many common myths about abuse in the context of Denhollander's own experiences, both in gymnastics and in the church. It's not often that I read a nonfiction work in two days, but it was difficult to put An incredible read. Denhollander uses her story to shed light on the dynamics of sexual abuse and what victims face in attempting to expose it. Hopefully, people who might not pick up a manual on how to respond to sexual abuse will be more interested in reading a book like this, which confronts many common myths about abuse in the context of Denhollander's own experiences, both in gymnastics and in the church. It's not often that I read a nonfiction work in two days, but it was difficult to put this one down.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    If you want a book that illustrates the power of one voice to create change coupled with the force of many voices in showcasing the horror of cover ups and abuse than this is your book. Nobody wants to be a target, to put themselves in harm's way, yet we know to save others we must. Rachael Denhollander is a hero to so many for being the first to speak out against the abuse suffered by Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics. She is the force behind the justice for all. This should be req If you want a book that illustrates the power of one voice to create change coupled with the force of many voices in showcasing the horror of cover ups and abuse than this is your book. Nobody wants to be a target, to put themselves in harm's way, yet we know to save others we must. Rachael Denhollander is a hero to so many for being the first to speak out against the abuse suffered by Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics. She is the force behind the justice for all. This should be required reading for many individuals especially those in the family courts as so often we find women's voices being silenced, not believed, adding to their trauma and forcing them to relive it under constant constraints and pressure of those unaware of just how damaging it all is upon them. I'm a survivor and I've read over 1k books a year and I assure you I've never had a book bring me to tears, moved me so profoundly, and inspired me so dramatically as this one. It's so well written, so beautifully and thoughtfully processed, so eloquently illustrated in words that my own writing probably won't do it justice. "What is a girl worth" "These children are worth everything the law can offer." "Little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world." How much is a young woman worth? In the end this is what it looks like: When selfish desires override safety and love for others. When adults ignore sex assault claims. When institutions create a culture where predators can go unafraid and unabated. When authority figures refused to listen, fail to create proper policy, and fail to provide justice. In the end the more you love the harder you fight. What I've come to know and have counselled other to do is to journal. To write. To tell your story. To make your voices heard. One alone is not making waves. Together it's a sunami. When women stand united we stand proud and we cannot be ignored. This book literally gave me goose bumps because the ending was truly powerful. The voices that spoke out against abuse. The lives that were taken at such an early age and altered but not destroyed. There's a saying that even broken crayons still color and this is so damn true. Hell hath no fury like a women scorned. We must protect one another. We must not be afraid to speak. When people asks why we didn't speak out we must not be embarrassed or ashamed or guilt tripped into staying silent. This is not ours to own. This is the sickness, illness, and abusive toxic behavior of men who have gotten away with crimes that should've been stopped from the first hint of trouble. I'm dealing now with a malignant narcissist who seeks to destroy me and our family. My main goal is to protect my kids. I know what's like to live in the flight or fight response and I know what's like to be downgraded and not believed. Yet like air I rise ...and so shall you! Never give up and for the author I commend you for your efforts here. This book has moved me in ways you cannot explain in mere words. You have touched on sensitive topics that truly needed to be explained in entirety and you have done all survivors justice in your writings. God Bless all survivors of abuse and their families.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy Morgan

    “You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.” This quote from William Wilberforce, which shows up toward the end of “What is a Girl Worth?” aptly describes the danger of reading this book. And that danger is exactly what makes the book mandatory reading—because abuse is everywhere and no one is untouched by it. “What is a Girl Worth?” is an uncomfortable view into abuse that was typical in many ways—grooming of not only the victim but the co “You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.” This quote from William Wilberforce, which shows up toward the end of “What is a Girl Worth?” aptly describes the danger of reading this book. And that danger is exactly what makes the book mandatory reading—because abuse is everywhere and no one is untouched by it. “What is a Girl Worth?” is an uncomfortable view into abuse that was typical in many ways—grooming of not only the victim but the community, the struggle to identify the abuse for what it was, the lack of response from well-meaning authority figures, and the devastating shame and self-doubt that come with any attempt to heal. Denhollander’s abuse was also atypical in some significant ways—her family was loving and supportive, her mother didn’t pass off her mood changes as being a teenager but recognized something was wrong, her abuser was famous, she had the law background to put together a strong case, and she had incredible advocates who partnered with her to bring about justice. Many abuse survivors don’t have these resources and are significantly hindered in their ability to heal, which greatly hinders them in seeking justice. Denhollander’s story acts as a primer on grooming techniques and the red flags that can alert a community to the presence of an abuser—if they are willing to listen. Over and over again, people who could have stopped Larry Nasser passed off the uncomfortable accusations as misunderstandings without a genuine attempt to discover the truth. Communities respond inappropriately not, as Rachel said in an interview, because some people really think child abuse is ok, but because people have not been trained on the dynamics and characteristics of abuse, let alone how to properly handle allegations. Abuse is something most people would rather not be happening in their own communities, and that discomfort often leads well-meaning people to doubt survivors accusations, which leads them to ignore red flags. On January 25, 2018, I was teaching a class of graduate students on counseling trauma survivors, and we talked about Rachel Denhollander’s victim impact statement given the day before. “That,” I told my students, “is a beautiful picture of a person who has processed her trauma.” It was immediately apparent to me that Denhollander had wrestled hard with the truth of what happened and the soul-crushing devastation of the wounds she was left with. Her book leaves no doubt—Denhollander knows the truth about her past, herself, and her God. Knowing these truths enabled her to pursue what was right so that other little girls might find their voices and escape the hurts that she has endured. Denhollander’s sacrifice to be an advocate proves that she has answered her own question: little girls are worth everything. **I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review. Thoughts are completely my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joelle

    What is a girl worth? Everything. She is worth everything. I sobbed my way through this book. I was crying so hard at the end I was afraid my son was going to get scared. How Rachael did this, literally only God knows. He was the One who gave her the courage, the wisdom, and the incredible helpmeet of Jacob to be able to stand up and say, "No. This must stop. We are worth it." I cannot fathom how she endured telling her story so. many. times. The introvert in me was cringing in a fet What is a girl worth? Everything. She is worth everything. I sobbed my way through this book. I was crying so hard at the end I was afraid my son was going to get scared. How Rachael did this, literally only God knows. He was the One who gave her the courage, the wisdom, and the incredible helpmeet of Jacob to be able to stand up and say, "No. This must stop. We are worth it." I cannot fathom how she endured telling her story so. many. times. The introvert in me was cringing in a fetal position at the sheer amount of talking she did. Every time she told the graphic details of her being violated, abused, molested by Nassar, she had to tell something that she should have never had to say in the first place. He should have been stopped sooner. She should have been believed, without needing to provide all those details. Her word should have been enough. Any girl's word should have been enough. None of them ever sought financial recompense or fame. Nassar was never blackmailed; the papers never ran salacious stories. The IndyStar, when it finally broke it, led with a factual, concise, and intellectual article. Rachael showed the epitome of the essence of Christian justice: extending forgiveness, and making sure you aren't enabled to keep on sinning. For while we must come to grips with how we react towards those who sin against us, ultimately knowing that God has vengeance, we are allowed earthly justice. And we are called to be administrators of mercy, which means keeping victims and future victims safe from further assaults of perpetrators. To every survivor who has had to fight simply to be believed, it is time, in Rachael's words, to be "the village that stops those who are harming." It is time to believe in the worth of a girl. It is time to realize that survivors don't want to be a survivor; being an assault victim is hardly glorious. Those who do present false claims quickly find out that it's not what they thought, and fade away. (Yet, of course, the stigma attached to false claims shades every real claim.) It is time to stand with, and stop ignoring or stigmatizing those who have been brutalized. It is time to cover the broken, protect the wounded, and fight for powerless. Because every girl is worth it. *Let me also be clear that though Rachael wrote as and about surviving as a female, I recognize that male sexual assault is prevalent. It takes place in many places (the military being one), yet men are even more ostracized when they speak up as survivors. (Penn State anyone?) Men, you are are worth it too. You are also part of the village. We will fight for you.*

  29. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    Don't say I didn't warn ya - This started out as a book review but developed more into a public thank you letter and an attempt to amplify the need for action to protect and believe victims.  What is a girl worth? is a question we all need to think about...and keep thinking about until we get our attitudes and systems together in such a way that treats them as if they are truly precious and priceless to us. Who is this book for? It's for everyone. Because, as this books has reminded m Don't say I didn't warn ya - This started out as a book review but developed more into a public thank you letter and an attempt to amplify the need for action to protect and believe victims.  What is a girl worth? is a question we all need to think about...and keep thinking about until we get our attitudes and systems together in such a way that treats them as if they are truly precious and priceless to us. Who is this book for? It's for everyone. Because, as this books has reminded me, it revolves around something - sexual assault - that can be done by anyone and can be committed against anyone. And yet we still live in a world that has made it harder for victims of sexual crimes to report and find justice and made it easier for predators to continue doing evil.  There have been few books that break me and push me to act. This was one of them. That being said... Thank you, Rachael. It was crushing to read about the harm done to you...but at the same time I'm in awe of how the Lord showed up. I'm thankful for how He demonstrated His faithfulness to the weary and broken through your story and your advocacy. You were obedient to the calling...and that seems so so hard and impossible to do most of the time. We often don't obey. You did. And you kept going (and are still going) despite hostility and disrespect from so many groups - churches, lawyers, media, your own friends, etc. I have two very little children, and I cannot imagine how crazy, hard, and draining it was to parent tiny humans and press charges and go to trial and face your abuser...and also cling onto your church when they did not care for you well. We can never fully grasp the weight you carried...we can only say 'thank you' and walk with you. Thank you, Rachael, for sharing your story with the world. Thank you for your grit, strength, courage, and boldness. I can't imagine what this all has cost you (you say a little bit about that in your book but that probably only scratches the surface)...so I will be in prayer for you. For good rest, healing, and protection as you battle on. For more moments of joy. For continued strength in your marriage. For perseverance as you raise your littles. For the Lord's favor in your advocacy and teaching. For the softening of the hearts of those who attack and belittle you. You've done amazing work. What a strong example you are of Christ-centered forgiveness, grace, and justice you are creating for your children. They are blessed. I will conclude by echoing Rachael's reference to William Wilberforce - "You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Destynie

    This is the most powerful memoir I've ever read and one of the few books that have truly changed my life and way of thinking. As an avid gymnastics fan, I followed the Nassar trial in horror and disbelief, wondering how a travesty of this scale could possibly happen under the noses of people entrusted to protect children and how it continued for decades. I had so many questions and this book answered all of them. This is what happens when money and reputation are prioritized by powerf This is the most powerful memoir I've ever read and one of the few books that have truly changed my life and way of thinking. As an avid gymnastics fan, I followed the Nassar trial in horror and disbelief, wondering how a travesty of this scale could possibly happen under the noses of people entrusted to protect children and how it continued for decades. I had so many questions and this book answered all of them. This is what happens when money and reputation are prioritized by powerful institutions over the safety and wellbeing of the people they directly profit off of. This is what happens when young girls are repeatedly silenced and shamed because their abuser doesn't fit the typical profile of a predator. It is no surprise or coincidence that Nassar ended up in such a highly respected position of authority where he could easily prey on and manipulate young, vulnerable girls in a compromising situation and competing in such a physically and mentally demanding sport. This is why so many victims of abuse from all walks of life stay silent and carry the shame, because being believed and seeing justice is so unlikely and regardless of the outcome, comes at a great cost. The details of Denhollander's story and the many women like her who suffered similar traumas are harrowing and disturbing and extremely difficult to read, but it is so important they are listened to in order to prevent the cycle of abuse from continuing. It is truly incredible how one person speaking out inspires an army of survivors to do the same and I have no doubt this book will continue to do so. A must-read to understand the culture of abuse and how we can work to change it.

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