By Andy Walker
Trinea Gonczar and Amanda Thomashow announced today that they are co-founding Survivor Strong, a new organization that will educate institutions and advocate for change to create a world where sexual assault survivors know they never have to stand alone.
Both Gonczar and Thomashow are survivors of Larry Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor whose prosecution was one of the most high-profile sexual assault cases in U.S. history. While their experiences were profoundly different, their desire to advocate for change brought them together to create Survivor Strong.
“Support, awareness and advocacy are all things we need to create a world free of sexual violence,” said Gonczar. “These are embedded in Survivor Strong’s core, and we are forming this organization to help survivors and their families receive equitable opportunities for healing and justice.”
The nonprofit will train organizations of all kinds – from hospitals to colleges to law offices – on how to work with people who have been sexually assaulted and create systems that are trauma-informed, survivor-centric and prevent assaults before they happen. It will also advocate for legal reform on reporting and prosecuting sexual assault and develop pilot healing and retreat opportunities in Michigan.
“I am so grateful to be able to turn this moment into a movement through Survivor Strong,” said Thomashow. “We have the opportunity to shift society from a culture that enables predators to one that empowers survivors, and we’re ready to get to work.”
Both women have dedicated their lives to this cause and have shared their experiences on the national stage, earning numerous awards and recognition. Gonczar and Thomashow also share their powerful stories in the upcoming HBO documentary, “At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal,” which debuts on Friday, May 3, exclusively on HBO.
To learn more, visit survivor-strong.org.