6 years of abuse and a year long nightmare: a Nassar survivor's story

Nassar Survivor speaks to WZZM 13

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - At 13, Melody Posthuma van der Veen thought she had broken her back -- Larry Nassar was the only one who believed her.

"He'd hug you when you walked in and hug you when you left - he'd ask about your personal life," Posthuma van der Veen said of Nassar.

More than 150 women and girls took the stand in a Lansing courtroom over the last two weeks all culminating to Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina's 40 to 175 year prison sentence.

Posthuma van der Veen spoke on Jan. 18, the third day of the sentencing.

Posthuma van der Veen spent six years, from ages 13 to 19, seeing Nassar for treatment for her various injuries.

"At the time I saw him, I was having nerve shocks all over my body," she recalled.

Posthuma van der Veen started gymnastics when she was young, which is where she first heard about Nassar. But it was not until she started dancing that her back injuries landed her in Nassar's care.

"It made you feel special getting two hour treatments with this renowned doctor," Posthuma van der Veen said.

Her mom was present in most of her appointments, but it did not matter. All the nurses and techs were always kicked out of the room. Posthuma van der Veen said it was like a signal and all the other medical professionals left the room.

She was asked to wear baggy shorts, which gave Nassar the privacy he needed to abuse his patients while the parent sat on the other side of the room.

"You're taught to trust doctors in general, and then on top of that he was the national gymnastics team doctor."

It was never a question of 'is he abusing me,' she explained, it was more so just a normalization of his 'weird' practices and conversation.

Posthuma van der Veen said Nassar got an erection during one of their appointments and told her about his sex life during another.

"When you've gone to him for five years, you minimize what's happening because you don't think of it as inappropriate -- since you have a personal relationship with the guy," Posthuma van der Veen said. "Like yes, I felt uncomfortable, but I just kind let it go."

In one of her last appointments with Nassar, Posthuma van der Veen went to his home.

She said that was when she felt the most alarmed, especially seeing his wife at the time.

"He was doing this for free...so I felt like I should just be thankful," Posthuma van der Veen recalled.

Nassar abused her and a number of other survivors in his own basement.

It wasn't until she saw the IndyStar article in 2016, a couple years after she had stopped seeing Nassar for treatment, that the pieces started coming together.

At first, she did not believe it.

"I thought there's no way he abused his patients," she said.

The ungloved hand penetration that Nassar claimed was a specialized Australian technique was actually sexual abuse for his own pleasure.

Posthuma van der Veen filed a police report and a Title IX investigation days after the article was released.

She found out MSU was investigating Nassar while she was still seeing him for appointments.

"Why was I not told about that?" Posthuma van der Veen asks now.

Posthuma van der Veen said MSU's response has been laughable throughout this.

"They had to have known, and even if they didn't that's an even bigger issue," she said.

"It's not just 'this Nassar thing' it's at least 20 years of sexual abuse."

The work that lies ahead is enough to keep Posthuma van der Veen moving forward, but she said she still has not fully processed her time in court.

"It sounds crazy to say, but you feel like you're the one special victim turned survivor -- but that was literally how we all felt," Posthuma van der Veen said.

Posthuma van der Veen said she locked eyes with Nassar shortly before she took her turn at the podium, and as she spoke tears rolled down his cheeks.

"I felt like I was talking to someone who was once a good friend, who turned out to be an enemy."

It was the first time since their last appointment, that Posthuma van der Veen looked at the man who abused her for six years, and it will likely be the last.

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