Olympic gymastics champion Simone Biles has added her name to the list of gymnasts who are saying “#metoo” about being sexually assaulted by Team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Biles went public on Twitter yesterday, just one day before Nassar’s sentencing on criminal sexual conduct charges. (He has also already been sentenced to 60 years for possession of child pornography and is still awaiting sentencing for an additional three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with children under 16.)
Simone Biles joins fellow USA gymnastics Olympians Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and McKayla Maroney, along with over 100 other women who’ve come forward saying Nassar abused them. The statement she made on Twitter reads in part:
Most of you know me as a happy, giggly, and energetic girl,” she started her letter. “But lately … I’ve felt a bit broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams. I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.
I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that l have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.
It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment. This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust.
Biles goes on to say that she is heartbroken that in order to pursue her goal of being in the 2020 Olympics, she will have to “continually return to the same training facility where I was abused.” She also says that, like most sexual abuse victims, she asked herself over and over again if she was to blame, but that “I now know the answers 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’ announcement was met with love and support from her gymnastics teammates and well, pretty much everyone else on Twitter. I personally am so ANGRY that this happened to these talented, trusting child athletes and I am angry that so many adults FAILED them. But I am also astounded that they could power through the abuse and still excel in their sports. I pray that as they continue to train, Simone and Nassar’s other victims will also seek the emotional counseling and support they need to overcome this abuse. To read Biles’ whole statement and send her some encouraging support, check out her Twitter below:
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 15, 2018