Plus, she’s made it her mission to speak out against injustice. Now, she’s opening up about her journey as a survivor of sexual abuse.
The athlete recently detailed her journey as a survivor after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the US women’s national gymnastics team.
In a new episode of her Facebook Watch docuseriesSimone Versus Herself, she got raw and honest about overcoming that experience.
"I'm definitely older, so it's more than just my gymnastics at this point that I'm advocating for," she shared about talking about her abuse. "Being one of the remaining survivors in this sport, I feel like I still have to be a voice for them."
"It's going to be harder to shut us out and our voices out if there is still somebody competing in the sport and is active," she said. "They can't sweep that under the rug because I'll always be here and I'm kind of the face of gymnastics right now, and as a survivor, it doesn't go away."
In the episode, she explained why it was so hard for her to accept what had happened to her.
"All those years, no one really told us what sexual abuse was. So we didn't really feel like we were going through it or we were victims," she said.
Once she came to terms and had processed her emotions, the depression set in.
"I was super depressed. I didn't want to leave my room. I didn't want to go anywhere," she revealed. "I kind of just like shut everybody out."
As for her decision to finally share her experience with the world, Simone thinks it's important to be a voice for others.
She shared, "It's okay to say 'I need help.' There is nothing wrong with that. I feel like athletes are coming out of the woodworks and telling people 'It's okay.' Because, at the end of the day, we're just like you."
While it's an experience she's struggled to cope with, she believes that the only way to move forward is to embrace the pain and use it for good.
"Some of the things that shaped you into who you are, you can't change," she shared for those who are also struggling. "And that's the reason you are the way you are. You can't erase them, so you have to embrace them."
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider.
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