WSW: Sexual Abuse Has Many Faces, Says Larry Nassar Survivor Sterling Riethman

Apr 11, 2019

Credit WMUK

Sterling Riethman
Credit Courtesy photo

Sterling Riethman, 26, says she had been an ardent watcher of NBC's "Law & Order: Sexual Victims Unit," and felt certain she could recognize sexual assault if it happened to her. But it wasn't so, she tells WMUK's Earlene McMichael. Riethman says sports doctor Larry Nassar abused her in his office without her knowledge. "I had this assumption that, if you were a victim of sexual assault, it would happen in dark alleys and you would be caught off-guard and you would walk away with bruises and scars and end up in the hospital." 

Riethman, now a married mother of a newborn and living in Kalamazoo, Mich., shares her story today on the WestSouthwest news and public affairs show. She'll speak on April 17 at the 23rd anniversary dinner of Sexual Assault Services in Battle Creek. She said doing advocacy work in the area of sexual assault is aiding in her healing.

She says she first met Dr. Nassar for gymnastics injuries when she was age 10. She continued to seek injury treatment from him when she later pursued diving in high school and college.

It was not until she turned 20 years old that the abuse started, according to Riethman. She says Nassar exceeded protocol during her "pelvic floor treatments," doing things to her that she says she has come to learn was not for her benefit but rather his sexual pleasure.

Hear the shorter, aired interview here.

WestSouthwest is produced by WMUK, the public radio station licensed to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. It airs Mondays & Thursdays at 7:34 a.m., 9:34 a.m. & 4:20 p.m. You can subscribe to the WestSouthwest podcast through Apple iTunes and Google Music. There you can leave a rating and write a review.