The day before Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing for sexual abuse against girls in his care, American gymnast Simone Biles came forward to say that she too was abused:
“I, too, am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she said Monday afternoon in a Tweet with the hashtag #MeToo. “There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now that it is not my fault.”
Nassar was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics through four Olympic games. This particular case shows how much the “#MeToo” movement is needed and how even the greatest of Olympic winners, like Biles, can be defeated by the predatory men around her.
Over 140 women who have come forward against Nassar to say that have been a victim of his actions, including Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, members of the “Fierce Five” gymnastics team that won the Gold in the 2012 games. Many have said that they were pressured into silence by USA Gymnastics.
The organization has come out in regards to Biles’ statements in a positive way:
“USA Gymnastics is absolutely heartbroken, sorry and angry that Simone Biles or any of our athletes have been harmed by the horrific acts of Larry Nassar. We are our athletes’ advocates. USA Gymnastics will continue to listen to our athletes and our members in our efforts of creating a culture of empowerment with a relentless focus on athlete safety every single day.”
Biles joined the US Olympic Gymnastics team in the 2016 games, winning individual all around. Her statement did not include specifics against Nassar, though she did describe that Nassar told her that she was given “special treatment.”
“This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone I was TOLD to trust,” she said Monday.
She also called out USA Gymnastics for letting Nassar’s actions go on like this for so long:
“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.”
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 15, 2018
“After hearing the brave stories of my friends and other survivors, I know that this horrific experience does not define me.”
Nassar faces sentencing in Michigan state court on Tuesday after pleading guilty in November to seven counts of sexual assault charges.
He worked at Michigan State University from 1997 to 2016 as an associate professor and as a gymnastics and women’s team physician. In his plea, Nassar admitted to abusing patients as far back as 1998, some being under the age of 13.
Many of Biles’ teammates have repeatedly accused Nassar of these horrible actions. In a lawsuit, Maroney said that USA Gymnastics paid her to be quiet about the abuse that she had been enduring since she was 13 years old.
University of Oklahoma gymnast, Maggie Nichols, said that her and a coach reported abuse by Nassar to USA Gymnastics in 2015, a few years after Nassar began treating Nichols for a back injury.
On Monday, Raisman praised Biles for coming forward.
“I know we will all get through this together,” Raisman said on Twitter.
In her statement Monday, Biles said she hopes that her coming forward will finally put a stop to the decades of abuse:
“We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again.”