Dear brother and sister survivors, we shall rise once again. I am writing to you today as an advocate and fellow survivor to tell all survivors of the University of Michigan’s Robert Anderson that I see your pain and the world believes you.
Choosing to step forward in times like these is an incredibly difficult and personal decision for survivors of systematic sexual assault. When I came to realize that the treatments I received from a trusted doctor were not legitimate, I thought my world might fall apart. But I somehow persisted through my pain and choose to contact others who would fight for accountability and justice alongside me and my sister survivors. I choose the team at Grewal Law PLLC and they have fought by my side ever since.
Many of my sister survivors did not want their names revealed to the public, and Grewal worked tirelessly and professionally to ensure many of the survivors in my case maintained complete anonymity throughout the entire process. Every survivor has the choice to either remain anonymous or go public. Through protective orders granted by the courts, and pseudonyms on all public court documents, please know that a certain level of privacy can be achieved throughout the process.
Grewal Law understands trauma and treats its clients with the compassion and respect we deserve. They understand the integral role accountability, transparency, and justice play in our path to healing. Without these three outcomes, closure can be very difficult for those of us betrayed by an institution that was supposed to protect us from a very bad doctor who preyed upon victims for far, far too long.
There are similarities in the abuse perpetrated by Larry Nassar and Robert Anderson, but each survivor’s pain is uniquely heartbreaking. Each survivor is worthy and invaluable, despite the shame, disgust, or despair we may feel at certain times. This shame, disgust and despair does not belong to survivors of abuse.
Although I still have days I struggle, I have worked hard to place the guilt, shame, embarrassment and feelings of remorse where they belong – on the doctor who abused me and the University who enabled him. I encourage every survivor to join me in this difficult but important task.
No one will be able to erase our pain, but there are people and processes that can help pave the path toward healing and closure. Right now, I’m guessing many survivors feel they are living in a nightmare. Please know you are not alone and that a community of survivors and a team of brilliant and sensitive attorneys are here when and if you are ready to pursue this path. But, no matter what path my fellow survivors choose to take, I stand beside you and offer my deepest wishes for peace and resolve.
Trinea Gonczar is a survivor and advocate for victims of sexual abuse and all who are impacted as a result. She currently serves as the Director of Development at Wayne County SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners program) in Detroit, Michigan.