Aly Raisman Just Delivered a Heartbreaking and Incredibly Brave Testimony Against Larry Nassar | 22 Words

Six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman finally had her day in court, and she spared nobody. Not a single one.

Friday was the last day in the unprecedented week-long sentencing of former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar, who pled guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County, Michigan. This is in addition to his conviction for child pornography, for which he will spend 60 years  in prison.

 

For years, Nassar sexually assaulted women and girls under the guise of providing "treatments," and would often do so ungloved with parents and guardians nearby. He molested over 120 women, but the number is not certain because more survivors are coming forward. One of these survivors is Aly Raisman.
Raisman, a three-time gold medalist for US gymnastics in 2012 and 2016, first met Nassar in Australia, and from then on, he abused her, digitally penetrating her under the auspices of treatment.
In starting, Raisman ensured that Nassar was listening to what she had to say.
Larry, you do realize now that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over so long a period of time, are now a force and you are nothing. The tables have turned, Larry. We are here, we have our voices, and we are not going anywhere. And now, Larry, it's your turn to listen to me.
Raisman explained the effects that Nassar's actions had on her and countless other women.
Larry, you abused the power and trust that I and so many others placed in you, and I am not sure I will ever come to terms with how horribly you manipulated and violated me. The effects of your actions are far-reaching. Abuse goes way beyond the moment, often haunting survivors for the rest of their lives, making it difficult to trust and impacting their relationships. It is all the more devastating when such abuse comes at the hand of such a highly-regarded doctor, since it leaves survivors questioning the organizations and even the medical profession itself, upon which so many rely.
She was also careful to state and claim her power:
I am here to face you Larry, so you can see I have regained my strength - that I am no longer a victim. I am a survivor. I am no longer the little girl you met in Australia when you first began grooming and manipulating.
And then she explained how Nassar had groomed and abused her.
Imagine how it feels to be an innocent teenager in a foreign country, hearing a knock on the door, and it's you. I don't want you to be there, but I don't have a choice. Treatments with you were mandatory. You took advantage of that. You even told on us, if we didn't want to be treated by you, knowing full well the troubles that would cause for us. Lying on my stomach with you on my bed, insisting that your inappropriate touch would help to heal my pain. The reality is you caused me a great deal of physical, mental, and emotional pain.
You never healed me. You took advantage of our passions and our dreams. You made me uncomfortable, and I thought you were weird, but I felt guilty because you were a doctor, so I assumed I was the problem for thinking badly of you. I wouldn't allow myself to believe the problem was you. From the time we were little, we were told to trust doctors. You are so sick, I can't even comprehend how angry I feel when I think of you. You lied to me and manipulated me to think that when you treated me, you were closing your eyes because you had been working hard, when you were really touching me, an innocent child, to pleasure yourself.
Raisman made sure to put the blame directly where it needed to be – not only at Nasser's feet, but at the feet of USA Gymnastics and all the other institutions that were supposed to protect she and the other athletes.
If over these many years, if just one adult listened and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided. Over those thirty years, adult after adult, many in positions of authority, protected you, telling each survivor it was okay, that you weren't abusing them. In fact, many adults had you convince the survivors that they were being dramatic or had been mistaken. This is like being violated all over again. How do you sleep at night? You were decorated by both USA Gymnastics and the USOC both of which put you on advisory boards and committees to come up with policies to protect athletes from this kind of abuse. You were the person they had "take the lead of athlete care." You were the person they say "provided the foundation for our medical system."
Raisman also had words for USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry, as well as the rest of the board.
Unfortunately, you've taken on an organization that I feel is rotting from the inside, and you will be judged by how you deal with it. A word of advice: continuing to empty statements of empty promises, thinking that will pacify us, will no longer work. Yesterday, USA Gymnastics announced it's terminating its lease at the ranch where so many of us were abused. I'm glad it is no longer a national training site, but USA Gymnastics neglected to mention that they had athletes training there the day they released the statement. USA Gymnastics: Where is the honesty? Where is the transparency? Why must the manipulation continue?
Raisman's words, while at turns heartbreaking and infuriating, have a very powerful point. Larry Nassar was to blame for his abuse, but so were all the structures that supported him, including and especially USA Gymnastics. They are as much to blame for the pain of countless women as is Nassar. As Raisman states, "Abusers, your time is up." And that includes the structures that protect them. You can read the full statement here.