Decorated Olympian Aly Raisman has not been afraid to speak her mind of late. Given the extreme amounts of gut-wrenching stories involving Dr. Larry Nassar’s history of sexual abuse, she has the right to do so. This is by no means a time to act like nothing ever occurred. To say otherwise is unthinkable.
Later last year Raisman conjured up the courage to share that she was one of the many victims of Nassar’s incomprehensible behavior. In addition to Raisman, Jaclyn Hendricks of the New York Post cites that over 140 women in all have been exposed to sexual abuse from the doctor. One is far too many, but to consider that at least this many women have endured such treatment makes one wonder why this news has been hidden.
Thankfully, many of the women who were mistreated by Dr. Nassar have been given a platform to speak this week. Part of the former USA Gymnastics doctor’s criminal sentencing has provided various women the opportunity to share truths that are so difficult to admit. It is not to say that this will automatically serve as a healing agent for them. Nassar’s actions, alas, will unfortunately scar them for the remainder of their lives. Things along these lines do not simply fade, even with time. However, it at least helps a tiny bit to know that they are not by themselves in the struggle.
As was stated, though, it is curious as to why this news is surfacing now. In all sincerity, what took so long? In a piece recently published on ESPN, Raisman provides insight into why this may be so. The three-time Olympic gold medalist claims that USA Gymnastics (USAG) previously “threatened” her to keep her mouth shut on the matter. Yikes.
Telling her to be quiet seems incredibly unfair by virtue of what already happened last year to Nassar. Via what Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report exemplifies, the maniacal man is in the middle of a 60-year jail sentence due to formerly possessing streams of child pornography. That being said, there is already plenty of sickening evidence against the 54-year-old.
It thereby makes one wonder where the USAG’s priorities are at. Let alone the abovementioned proof, there came a boiling point when numerous gymnasts did confront the higher-ups about Nassar’s actions. Those same higher-ups, strangely enough, seemed to never take their stories to heart. No matter how revealing and emotionally charged those stories were. In doing so, they enabled Nassar to continue to live a life that made young ladies feel lifeless.
As a result, it sheds light on the corrupt nature of USAG. Carron J. Phillips of the New York Daily News defends this stance. As a matter of fact, Phillips goes on to say that greed indeed plays a role in USAG’s nearly numb attitude toward this whole situation.
“The revelation became very clear to me that this was about two things: greed and evil.”
Recent comments from Raisman correspond with Phillips’ sentiment very much so. Granted no one enjoys losing, USAG appears to have truly let selfishness get in the way of what is more significant. In this case, it is listening to what women such as Aly Raisman have said about Nassar.
“You know, their biggest priority from the beginning and still today is their reputation, the medals they win and the money they make off of us. I don’t think that they care. If they cared, then the second they realized that I was abused, they would have reached out, asked if I needed therapy, asked if I was OK, asked what they could have done and they would have — they would have made a big change.”
The 23-year-old athlete makes an interesting point regarding the reaching out notion. All indications suggest this never occurred in a rapid manner. Consequently, this unfortunate truth adds more veracity to what Raisman boldly contests. It hints that those linked with USAG enabled Larry Nassar’s actions whether they wish to acknowledge it or not. It is just sad for it showcases that they placed their wants above the needs of the athletes.
Moreover, it signifies that character is not being considered here. That should far outweigh elements like “reputation” any day of the week. Nevertheless, what is truly important here has taken a back seat, so to speak, for far too long.
This is not to deny Nassar’s actions. That is not being asserted whatsoever. What is being put forth is that his actions should have been put to a permanent halt a while ago. A recent tweet from Raisman aligns with this posture.
.@USAGym STOP VICTIM SHAMING. Your statements are hurtful. If you did not believe that I & others were abused than why pressure & manipulate us? WE WERE MOLESTED BY A MONSTER U ENABLED 2 THRIVE FOR DECADES. You are 100% responsible. It was mandatory to get "treatment" by Nassar.— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) January 10, 2018
Alanna Vagianos of the HuffPost raises a key statistic as to why this all should have ideally fizzled out sooner. According to what she gathered, a lot of Nassar’s victims were below the age of 12 when the abuse started. Thinking about that alone is heartbreaking, and such a word does not even seem adequate enough by any stretch of the imagination.
What is just as frustrating is when Raisman speaks about an investigation that was supposedly underway a while back. Once the leaders of the USAG knew of some of the claims, they told Aly not to worry. At this interval, she regrets placing trust in them since they did not follow up promptly. It again demonstrates that all of this never seemed to be taken too seriously, which is depressing in every sense of the word.
Bridget Read of Vogue reproduced Raisman’s thoughts concerning the apparent investigation. They clearly disclose more details that only add to the amount of barbs thrown at USAG.
“I’m so angry that, after realizing that we were abused, they let him continue to molest other gymnasts when they told me there was an investigation going on. They told me to be quiet. I thought that they were doing the right thing, and I didn’t want to tip off the investigation. I trusted them and I shouldn’t have.”
The anguish in her voice is noticeable and rightfully so. Raisman’s comments denote that USAG needs to be held to a certain standard, too, let alone the team’s former doctor. Diligently masquerading something to this extent is just inexcusable.
Despite Raisman’s claims, USAG does not concur with what the young lady said. Via reports from CNN writer Eric Levenson, the nation’s gymnastics leaders think anything but that is true.
“Contrary to reported accusations, USA Gymnastics never attempted to hide Nassar’s misconduct,” the group said. “The suggestion by plaintiff’s counsel… that USA Gymnastics tried to silence athletes or keep the investigation secret to avoid headlines before the Rio Olympics and to protect Los Angeles’ Olympic bid is entirely baseless.”
The “baseless” part of their argument, though, appears to have some gaping holes in it. Provided what Hendrick’s article includes, another former Olympian was reportedly told to be silent about Nassar. McKayla Maroney said she was coerced into signing a binding agreement in 2016 that would lead to serious financial penalties if ever shattered.
Thus, it is safe to say that what Raisman is putting forth is by no means baseless. Thus, to think that the USAG is still trying to cover things up at this moment is especially odd. At the end of the day, as unfortunate as it is, it displays where their intentions really are. In lieu of assisting the athletes, they are only trying to do favors for themselves, which, to say the least, is tear-jerking.
Not everyone around the world can likewise say “me, too.” Notwithstanding that, all of this is too big to take lightly. Taking intentional, deliberate action is an absolute must in order to prevent other innocent lives from being affected in the future.