With the release of her personal autobiography, Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Aly Raisman stands out as one of the highest profile athletes to come out about sexual abuse.
Beginning her Olympic training at a young age, Raisman,23, began receiving medical attention from the team doctor Larry Nassar at age 15.
“We were told he is the best doctor. He’s the United States Olympic doctor and the USA Gymnastics doctor, and we were very lucky we were able to see him,” Raisman said to CBS “60 Minutes” Sunday.
According to the gold medalist, Nassar would bring gifts and treats for her, forming a trusting relationship, a method he’d used numerous times in the past. Nassar has been accused of sexual assault by more than 130 women and currently faces 33 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan.
” Nobody ever educated me on, ’ Make sure you’re not alone with an adult. ’ You know, ’ Make sure he’s not making you uncomfortable. ’ I didn’t know the signs. I didn’t know what sexual abuse really was. And I think that needs to be communicated to all of these athletes, no matter the age,” she said.
“I was just really innocent. I didn’t really know. You know, you don’t think that of someone. … I trusted him,” she said.
The last few months have not been easy for me,” says Raisman. “There have been some days where I feel so much anxiety and I feel sick. I’ve never really had that before. It’s just nerve-wracking because you don’t know how people are going to react,” Raisman said, of her commitment to publish her experience in her book, Fierce, which will be released Nov. 14.
Raisman says the incident hasn’t deterred her from her goal to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I love gymnastics,” she said, “This has nothing to do with my teammates, my coaches, or the sport I love so much. It’s the organization [USA Gymnastics] that let me down… I don’t know how some of them sleep at night. I don’t feel like they care at all that this happened to me… It’s horrific what I went through.”
“I want to create change,” she said. “No one deserves to be hurt or taken advantage of.”
“We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career,” Team USA Gymnastics said in a statement Sunday, adding that their athletes are their priority and a new president and chief executive officer have been appointed to the USA Gymnastics organization.
“I think it’s important for people to know too I’m still trying to put the pieces together today. You know it impacts you for the rest of your life,” she said.
Raisman’s story comes amid thousands of claims of sexual harassment which have risen in the last month, beginning with numerous accusations around Hollywood’s most prominent actors and directors.