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Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has handed down a prison sentence that aims to put Larry Nassar in jail for the rest of his life.

"I just signed your death warrant," Aquilina told Nassar on Jan. 24 as she read his sentence for charges of abusing at least 150 girls to whom he gave medical treatment in his role as a physician for the USA Gymnastics national team and Michigan State University. Nassar, 54, was given a sentence of 40 to 175 years for his conviction on top of the 60-year-sentence he already received on earlier federal child pornography charges.

"As much as it was my honor and privilege to hear the sister survivors, it is my honor and privilege to sentence you. Because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again," Aquilina said to Nassar.


The trial has made headlines for being one of the largest sexual abuse cases in sports history. But also noteworthy — and significantly more encouraging — has been the way Aquilina has been an advocate for victims of sexual assault while presiding over the case.

Aquilina looks at Nassar during a victim’s impact statement. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Throughout the trial, Aquilina has been strict about holding Nassar to task for all of his crimes.

Every. Single. One.

She allowed all of victim impact statements — more than 160 of them — to be read in court by survivors and their families, making sure they each had the time to stand up to their abuser. She also had Nassar sit in the witness box rather than at the defense table so that testifiers would not have to turn backward to make eye contact with him during their statements.

When Nassar complained about these decisions, claiming he wasn't "mentally able" to endure listening to his victims' testimonies, Aquilina became an overnight sensation by tossing aside Nassar's request to block the women's statements.

"I have to say this isn't worth the paper it's written on," Aquilina said as she held up Nassar's statement. "You may find it harsh that you are here listening, but nothing is as harsh as what your victims endured for thousands of hours at your hands."

Aquilina has also set an amazing example of how to treat survivors of abuse with dignity and respect.

As empathetic as she is harsh, her statements to the survivors have been heartfelt and encouraging, without a shred of shame or doubt.

"I’m an adult, and I’m listening, and I’m sorry it took this long," Aquilina said after Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman read a powerful statement condemning not just Nassar, but the organizations and individuals who allowed him to maintain his position even as girls complained about his behavior.

To another woman, she said, "Leave your pain here, and go out and do your magnificent things."

Her approach — candidly disgusted by the abuser and empathetic toward the abused — has prompted a tide of reactions from others on social media who have longed for a voice like Aquilina's in the American judicial system.

And it wasn't just Aquilina who was on hand to offer support to survivors.

Those who gave statements against Nassar got an assist from Preston, a therapy dog who was on hand to greet and comfort each person after they finished giving their statements.

The black lab wore an adorable blue bandana throughout the sentencing hearing that signaled to him that he was "on the clock" and responsible for providing comfort to the testifiers, his handler explained.

Image courtesy of Small Talk Children's Assessment Center.

Preston's presence is just another of the ways in which Nassar's victims have been supported throughout the trial — by being given the respect and resources that they need.

It's a tragedy that Nassar's crimes went unpunished and ignored for so many years, but this trial proves the world is moving in the right direction.

Many victims of sexual assault refuse to testify due to the often harsh and emotionally difficult treatment they receive at the hands of the legal system. The treatment that these testifiers have received in Aquilina's courtroom proves that the tide is turning.

Aquilina is showing the sports world, and everyone really, a way forward on how to both honor the survivors of abuse and hold the next abuser accountable — before they become the next Nassar.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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The study, conducted by sociologists at Ohio State, was recently published in the journal Social Forces.

According to researchers, dog-walking isn’t just about getting exercise—it makes us all security guards whether we know it or not.

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Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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