Since going public with her allegations of being sexually abused, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman has been using her fame to stand up for other victims.
Raisman first spoke out Sunday on 60 Minutes, where she alleged that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, who was a doctor for the USA Gymnastics women's team at the time.
Nassar has been accused of sexually assaulting dozens of gymnasts, including Raisman's teammate McKayla Maroney. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County Circuit Court, and is expected to face at least 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 12.
Raisman has said USA Gymnastics didn't do enough to protect girls and young women. And in a speech at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Monday, she said she was standing up for all those who have allegedly been abused by Nassar.
"I am beyond disgusted that a decorated Olympic and USA Gymnastics doctor was able to prey upon so many over such a long period of time; and until we fully understand the flaws in the system that allowed this to happen in the first place — and enabled it to continue for decades — we can't be confident it won't happen again," Raisman said. "I am determined to work towards real and meaningful change."
On Friday, she also spoke against the notion that women who dress sexy are to blame for sexual abuse.
But her Olympic teammate Gabby Douglas then tweeted that she disagreed, saying that women who dress provocatively share some responsibility.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Douglas wrote, "however it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd."
Fans were quick to point out she was literally engaging in the definition of victim-shaming.
Douglas then replied that she was trying to say responsibility "goes both ways." "No it does not," another fan said — sexual assault is never the victim's fault.
Fellow Olympic teammate Simone Biles then tweeted her support for Raisman and all other victims of assault.
"shocks me that I'm seeing this but it doesn't surprise me..." she tweeted. "honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly 💕 & all the other women out there!
Douglas, Raisman, and Biles won Olympic gold together in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Douglas and Raisman were also teammates in the 2012 Olympic team.
Douglas then tweeted that she misspoke and was sorry that her words were taken as unsupportive.
"i didn't correctly word my reply & i am deeply sorry for coming off like i don't stand alongside my teammates. regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstance is never acceptable. i am WITH you. #metoo"
On Tuesday, Douglas again apologized for falling short as a role model — adding that it's clear to her that a person's clothing is never an invitation for abuse. "It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar," she said.
It was the first time Douglas said publicly that she too was a victim of abuse.
Douglas did not share details of her experience, but her publicist confirmed to BuzzFeed News that she was accusing Nassar of abusing her.
"I didn't publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful," she said. "I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.
"I understand that many of you didn't know what I was dealing with, but it is important to me that you at least know this. I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form! I will also never support attacking or bullying anyone on social media or anywhere else."
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
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