STORY BY: WHEREISTHEBUZZ TEAM MEMBER
Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s is being sentenced today for sexually abusing gymnastics girls in his care, American gymnast Simone Biles has come forward to say me, too.
“I, too, am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she said Monday afternoon in a Twitter post with the hashtag #MeToo.
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 15, 2018
They are many reasons that she has been reluctant to share her story.
Nassar was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics through four Olympic Games, treating young talent and gold medal winners. His case started the drive of the #MeToo movement to call out serial predatory behavior and the forces that enable it.
More than 140 female athletes said they were abused by the team doctor, including Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney, members of the “Fierce Five” US Olympic gymnastics team that won the gold in 2012. Many said they were pressured into silence by powerful institutions, including USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body in the United States.
In response to Biles’ statement, the organization pledged “unwavering” support for Biles and others who have “courageously” come forward.
“USA Gymnastics is absolutely heartbroken, sorry and angry that Simone Biles or any of our athletes have been harmed by Larry Nassar horrific actions” the group said. “We are our athletes’ advocates. USA Gymnastics will continue to listen to their athletes and members in the efforts of creating a culture of empowerment with laser focus on athlete safety every single day.”
Biles, now 20, joined the US Olympic gymnastics team in 2016, winning the individual all-around. Though her statement did not include specific allegations against Nassar, she described experiencing abuse under the guise of “special treatment,” a recurring claim from Nassar’s victims.
“This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone I was TOLD to trust,” she said Monday.
She, too, called out USA Gymnastics for its alleged role in allowing Nassar to prey on young girls for decades.
“For far too long I’ve asked myself ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answer to those questions. No. No. It was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.
“After hearing the brave stories of my friends and other survivors, I know that this horrific experience does not define me.”
Nassar faces sentencing Today in Michigan state court after pleading guilty in November to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. He faces additional sentencing later this month on three counts of criminal sexual assault involving victims in a neighboring county.