Aly Raisman Opens Up About Sexual Abuse by USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar
David P. Dillard
Aly Raisman Opens Up About Sexual Abuse
by USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar
By Alice Park
November 13, 2017
She says Nassar often closed his eyes and would be out of breath while working on her. Unaware that she was being molested, and still believing she was receiving medical treatment that would help her, she attributed his behavior to his being tired or jetlagged from the trips to competitions around the world.
Now Raisman says she knows better. I know people will say Why didnt she tell her mom? Why didnt she say anything? But those questions are unfair, she says. The fact is I didnt really know it was happening to me. What people dont get is that he was a doctor. I would never have imagined that a doctor would abuse me or manipulate me so badly.
After years of making excuses for what she calls Nassars weird behavior during the treatment sessions, in July 2015 three years after winning three medals at her first Olympics she says she finally realized that Nassar had been sexually abusing her. Raisman says she received a call from USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, who asked her to speak to an investigator who would be coming to Raismans home. He wouldnt tell her what the visit was about.
She says the investigator, who was hired by USA Gymnastics to address complaints about Nassar, asked if Raisman felt safe, and if anyone had been making her feel uncomfortable. Then she asked specifically about Nassar, about what he did, how he treated her, how many times, and whether other people were present during the treatment sessions. At first Raisman continued to make excuses for Nassar, admitting that she often felt uncomfortable but also adding that he was a doctor, and didnt mean to make her uncomfortable, and frequently brought her and the other girls gifts.
When the investigator left, Raisman thought back on her encounters with Nassar and realized that the treatments had not been medical in nature but that she had been sexually abused. She declined to go into detail about the nature of the abuse. When Raisman called USA Gymnastics back the following day and asked to speak to the investigator again, she says she was told that the investigation was ongoing. She also received a text from an official asking her to stop talking about her experiences with Nassar, so as not to jeopardize the investigation. Requests for comment to Pennys attorney were not immediately answered.
Raisman says that the culture of success at all costs, and the power that USA Gymnastics wields over the gymnasts and their families vying for coveted Olympic spots, can allow sexual abuse to go unchecked as victims feel that its easier and potentially beneficial to stay quiet.
Raisman says she now feels betrayed, by both Nassar, whom she trusted as a doctor, and by USA Gymnastics, whom she trusted not to put her in harms way.
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