Aly Raisman Slams U.S. Olympics For Pretending "None Of Us Were Ever Abused" In A Powerful Statement
In a piercing statement on Twitter, Olympic medal-winning gymnast Alexandra Raisman called out the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for saying it supported survivors of sexual abuse. She called for an independent investigation into not only USA Gymnastics (USAG) but also the USOC for failing women gymnasts who were sexually abused by former Team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Raisman posted her thoughts on the USOC's response after CEO of the committee, Scott Blackman, put out a statement on the matter, claiming that they had been in negotiations since October to change leadership at USAG.
On Monday it was announced that three members of the USAG board resigned under pressure surrounding the sexual abuse allegations. "New board leadership is necessary because the current leaders have been focused on establishing that they did nothing wrong," Blackman wrote. "USA Gymnastics needs to focus on supporting the brave survivors. The Olympic family failed these athletes, and we must continue to take every step necessary to ensure this never happens again."
Raisman wasn't having it. "For the past week, survivors came forward to courageously face a perpetrator of evil and to share their painful stories," she tweeted. "Many of them, myself included, claim the USOC is also at fault. Was the USOC there to 'focus on supporting the brave survivors'? No. Did they issue any statement then? Crickets."
She went on to lay into the organization:
Over the weekend, the USOC released a statement shamelessly taking credit for a few USAG resignations (note: not fired), as though they're addressing this problem. But they are still not acknowledging its own role in this mess. ZERO accountability! It's like none of us were ever abused!
Raisman asked why just three members of the board resigned, when she contends there should have been more, "the others, who were either allowed them to do whatever they did wrong, or were so oblivious they didn't know it was happening." She goes on to call for an independent investigation and asks the USOC, "What's it going to take for you to do the right thing?"
Over the past few days, some former Olympians went to court to testify at the sentencing hearing of Nassar. He plead guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct and child pornography. More than 100 women have come forward with experiences of abuse, and many of them were minors at the time.
The sentencing trial continued on Tuesday — it had to be lengthened from an initial four days to six. A total of 144 women are expected to have testified by the end of the day, and Nassar is expected to get anywhere from 25 years in prison to life.
The survivors and advocates have also focused on bringing attention to USAG, given that the gymnastics organization knew about Nassar's alleged abuse for weeks before reporting it to authorities. The organization reportedly knew about the allegations in 2015, but the abuse allegations weren't investigated by the FBI until 2016.
Raisman has also spoken openly about how she thinks USAG failed — particularly the delay in reporting what they knew. Raisman told ESPN's Outside the Lines about when she first reported Nassar. "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," she told ESPN. "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."
Raisman, her teammates, and other former Olympians have a message for USAG, USOC, and everyone else. They want systemic change to prevent this from ever happening again.