If you thought the stories regarding sexual abuse and harassment were done—or only limited to Hollywood—you have grossly misunderstood the scope of this pervasive problem.
In a heart-wrenching and personal note Wednesday, Olympic gold medalist and member of the Fierce Five McKayla Maroney addresses sexual harassment and abuse in the competitive sports world. The 21-year-old gymnast revealed that since the age of 13, she had consistently been molested by the former US Women’s National Gymnastics Team doctor, Dr. Larry Nassar.
“Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.’ It started when I was 13 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps, in Texas, and it didn’t end until I left the sport.”
“It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated.’ It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver,” Maroney wrote.
“For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo,” she wrote. “He’d given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment.’ I thought I was going to die that night.”
Dr. Nassar has been under investigation by the FBI and has been charged with sexually abusing young girls. Additionally, 60 complaints have been filed against him and thousands of images of child pornography were found in his home.
In her note, Maroney went on to explain that the Olympics were intended to be hopeful, a beacon of light she looked up to since the age of 8 years old.
“I got there, but not without a price,” she wrote, before explaining her thoughts on how to spark change—including speaking out, holding people accountable, and educating others.
Her candid letter sparked hundreds of responses from people showing support for Maroney, including fellow Olympic athletes.
Thank you for your immense courage in speaking out and sharing your story, and we’re here for you and with you. 💙
— RAINN (@RAINN01) October 18, 2017
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