Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center (copy)

A few wooden boards mark different spots inside the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. As children move inside, they transfer their vinyl birds from one station to the next. Provided

One of the first victims to openly speak out and accuse a former USA Gymnastics doctor of sexual abuse will soon tell her story in Charleston. 

Rachael Denhollander, an advocate for people who have been abused, will be a featured speaker during the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center's annual Educational Luncheon. The event will take place on Friday, Oct. 4, at 11:30 a.m. at the Riley Park Club on Fishburne Street.

“Dee Norton is honored to bring Rachael and her story of resilience to our community,” said Anna Shaw, the director of operations for Dee Norton in a press release. 

After publicly accusing Larry Nassar of abusing her when she was 15, Denhollander has gone on to become an author and educator who looks to combat cultural dynamics that allow abusers to remain in power. Nassar was officially sentenced in 2018 to 40 years to 175 years in prison following multiple accusations of sexual abuse. 

The Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center is a local resource that seeks to prevent abuse and support families and children. Some of their work includes providing evidence-based therapy to child victims of abuse. Currently, the center serves 1,600 children per year. 

At the luncheon, Denhollander will be speaking on the topic of justice and forgiveness. She also plans to speak on her experience with healing after facing abuse. The goal is to inspire guests to advocate for people who need a voice. 

The cost of the event is $75 per person and tickets can be purchased online at Dee Norton's website, www.deenortoncenter.org.

Reach Jerrel Floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @jfloyd134.