Simone Biles recently posted on her Twitter about being sexually abused by the former Team USA doctor, Larry Nassar. In her statement, Simone struggles to put into words the horrific situation she had to go through. She talked about her reluctance to reveal her story, wondering whether it was her fault and how despite having to go back to the same facility to train for Tokyo 2020, she will not “let one man, and the others that enabled him, to steal her love and joy.”
Simon is not the first Olympian to come forth with her story. Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney have disclosed similar statements. Dr. Larry Nassar worked with USA Gymnastics from 1997 until 2015 and has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 130 women. He was fired from USA Gymnastics (USAG) in 2015 and from Michigan State University, where he had a sports-medicine practice, in the summer of 2016, when more allegations of his sexual assault on his patients came out. Nassar pleaded guilty to 7 accounts of sexual misconduct last year and will be hearing his sentence on Tuesday in Lansing, Michigan where several other victims such as Olympian Jamie Dantzscher from the 2000 Olympics will deliver their statements about being molested by Nassar under the guise of medical treatments.
Despite USAG releasing a statement about how they “unwaveringly support” Simon Biles and all the others who have come forward with their stories, it seems as if all the USAG cares about is saving their face. Last March, the chief executive of USA Gymnastics retired after coming into scrutiny over the fact that he waited five weeks in 2015 to report a sexual assault allegation from a gymnast and failed to inform Michigan State about it, which allowed Nassar to continue to work in his practice until he was accused of sexual assault by another woman.
Aly Raisman tweeted that the USAG is “100% responsible” for the doctor’s abuse as the treatments were mandatory. Gymnast McKayla Maroney says she was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding her abuse. Gymnast Rachel Denhollander claims that “no one on the USAG board can be trusted” because they have been continuously protecting predators.
It’s disheartening to see such horrific abuse of power coming from large agencies such as USAG and those who are in power. With the come up of numerous movements such as Times #MeToo, it is time to show support to the victims and ensure that the cycle of abuse stops. As Simone Biles said in her statement, “We need to make sure something like this never happens again.”
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