My name is Angelika Martinez-McGhee. I was 15 years old when I was abused by Larry Nassar.
There are over 500 Sister Survivors, all of different backgrounds, and I am a proud Afro Latina. The sports I pursued lifelong were gymnastics and diving.
During my career as a student athlete, my mental health suffered due to repressed memories. To help with my PTSD during physical therapy sessions, I requested a chaperone. My request was unwelcome, and after a couple sessions I was told: “If the trainer can’t examine you by himself, he won’t be your trainer at all.”
My freshman year was one of the hardest years of my life, I became dependent on alcohol and had a nervous breakdown. After ending my athletic career, I pursued the medical field, first becoming a paramedic, then a critical care nurse.
When Larry Nassar was arrested in 2016, I sought help from a therapist. I was shocked when he said the following during my therapy session: “I thought he only abused white girls?” It took me years to recover from that therapy session. I found a new therapist and began my first nursing job at the Cleveland Clinic.
What I began to realize is that a stressful career triggered my PTSD, and my mental health affected my work performance. I was fortunate to have a supportive nurse manager, she allowed me to take time off to take care of myself. I came back focused and fought for my career as a bedside nurse.
During my journey as a Sister Survivor and a woman of color the power of not being believed has had a direct impact on my well-being. Organizations like End Violence Against Women International have always understood my journey, specifically as a woman of color. I’ve seen firsthand the importance of training institutions, organizations, first responders, and mental health workers on trauma informed care.
As scandals end, promises are made. As a Sister Survivor, I know that there is more work to be done.