Aly Raisman covers People: ‘I lost a part of myself, and I’m getting it back by speaking out’


Horrible serial abuser Larry Nassar, a former doctor to the women’s gymnastics team, is going to rot in jail for the rest of his life. So many of his victims spoke out at his sentencing. Some of them were violating gag orders imposed on them by USA Gymnastics after reaching settlements. USA Gymnastics isn’t going to enforce those NDAs, because they must have realized how much worse it would look for them. The entire board of USA Gymnastics has stepped down in the wake of this news and the former coordinator for the team, Valeri Liukin, has resigned. I question whether these sweeping changes would have been made if Nassar’s trial hadn’t received so much press. If Judge Rosemarie Aquilina hadn’t given his victims a platform, would there have been any changes in that complicit organization? They’ve been trying to bury this story and protecting a serial predator for years, so it’s doubtful.

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who revealed last fall that she was abused by Nassar from the age of 15, covers the upcoming issue of People Magazine. Aly’s interview is powerful and really rang true for me. I got a little teary and sick to my stomach reading her story actually. Here’s some of what she said:

Aly Raisman is speaking out about the powerful statement she delivered during Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse sentencing hearing last month.

“I felt very strong,” the Olympic gold medal winner tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I felt like I had so much I wanted to say.”

In a 12-minute statement that had many in the courtroom in tears, Raisman excoriated Nassar and took aim at the gymnastics organizations that she says “enabled” the former doctor to abuse hundreds of young girls and women under the guise of medical treatment. “The tables have turned,” she told the court. “We are here, we have our voices, and we aren’t going anywhere…”

Raisman acknowledges that coming to terms with what happened to her has been difficult. “You never really want to say, ‘I was sexually abused,’ ” she says, “but you have to process it. You can’t push it aside forever, which is what I did for a long time. I’m still processing it and coping with it.”

One of the ways that Raisman copes with her past is to be a clear voice for change in the sport. “You lose a part of yourself when you’re abused,” she says. “I lost a part of myself, and I’m getting it back by speaking out.”

“I’m just starting to realize how strong I am,” she adds, “and I won’t be silenced.”

[From People]

This quote particularly hit home for me. “You never really want to say, ‘I was sexually abused,’  but you have to process it. You can’t push it aside forever.

People did a good thing by putting Aly on the cover. Sure they’re capitalizing on interest in the Olympics given that the Winter Olympics start this week, but they could have gone with yet another true crime cover, or some secondary celebrity whose show needs interest. Instead they gave Aly an opportunity to say her piece, and that will help other victims.

Nassar also worked at Michigan State University as a sports physician from 1997 to 2016. One of his victims, Larissa Boyce, revealed during his sentencing hearing that, after telling her coach that Nassar had abused her, the coach berated her in front of the other young athletes. She was forced to apologize to Nassar. This was in 1997, the first year of Nassar’s employment, at the place where he went on to work for 30 years. USA Gymnastics and MSU will hopefully be held accountable for their crimes as well.


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photos credit: People, Getty, Instagram/Aly Raisman

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26 Responses to “Aly Raisman covers People: ‘I lost a part of myself, and I’m getting it back by speaking out’”

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  1. Jillian says:

    She’s lovely. It’s a great time to be alive.

    • INeedANap says:

      She’s a bada$$. As are all the women who spoke up eve when no one believed them.

      • a reader says:

        She and all those other girls/women who spoke out are HEROES. Period.

        FSCK MSU and FSCK everyone who enabled this predator. BURN IT TO THE GROUND.

  2. Lela says:

    This whole story has made me sick, and in a way forced me to deal with my own attack which took place when I was 15. There are far too many of us that DO push it to the back of our minds and go on pretending we live a normal life.

  3. TaniaOG says:

    Hearing all this makes me think that dismantling that board isn’t enough. USA gymnastics harbored a pedophile and those members should be criminally responsible. Starting to get really angry over here. Like, how many complaints needed to be made before this board clued in and said, “I think we have a problem”. No, instead they allowed this pedophile to prey on these CHILDREN.

    • Jag says:

      Agreed! And the coaches, too!

    • FHMom says:

      I agree also. I want everyone punished in some way that is going to be a hardship. Gigantic fines. Banned from sports for life. Community service. This went on far too long. They are all responsible for the abuse.

    • Liberty says:

      Agreed. Letting them skate away is disgusting. Double standards. I hope someone files against them.

    • Crowdhood says:

      Additionally I can’t understand the power he held. He is nowhere close to the only doctor. Like what even was the point in protecting him?!

  4. PIa says:

    Poor Larissa, this is an institutional issue, lets shine some attention on the enablers too.

  5. Jag says:

    Nassar worked for gymnastics center in Texas, where he wasn’t licensed to practice. They HAD to know that!

    Also the board of USA Gymnastics stepped down because the Olympic Committee said that they all had to or that the U.S. wouldn’t be allowed to further compete in gymnastics at the Olympics. It wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts or because they care for the women who were sexually abused.

    I want these complicit people to be in jail as well. We really need to push for changes in the laws, especially in the statute of limitations which varies from state to state and isn’t long enough in any of them.

  6. littlemissnaughty says:

    Burn it down. Dismantle USAG and start over. I wouldn’t let my child anywhere near them, even if 90% of staff were replaced. And I have a bad feeling that Liukin just wants out of the spotlight before anyone aside from Mattie Larson points to him for any sh*tty behavior.

    These girls and women are awesome in so many ways.

    • Bridget says:

      It’s weird to me that Liukin would have stood by otherwise. Something doesn’t smell right to me either.

  7. savu says:

    I have been so impressed with all these athletes, and Aly in particular. I gotta say I love that there are women so young being a big part of this movement. They are the future!

  8. adastraperaspera says:

    Televising these statements was the right thing to do. Aly and the other survivors are leading the way. Silence will not save us.

  9. Pandy says:

    Sickening. There’s no safe haven anywhere for women and children.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      There hasn’t been for a long time. Hoping current discussion will help change that. Institutions need to change and laws need to be enforced.

      • Pandy says:

        I know. I can only hope we continue to burn it all down and don’t go back to our polite Lady Dorito days.

      • Esmom says:

        I’m hoping it will change, too. This had had huge impact at MSU, exposing not only the horrors that Nassar and his associates perpetrated but also how much the university’s male athletes accused of sexual abuse have been protected. That is not unique to MSU and it’s about time all universities clean house and rethink their policies. #timesup

  10. Isabel says:

    *20 years, if 1997.

    Just…ugh. I also hope there’s more consequences for these people!

  11. Bridget says:

    I mean, Valeri Liukin’s own daughter was a member of USA Gymnastics, and he still didn’t do anything. What. The. Hell.

    And this is exactly what needs to happen when there’s an institutional cover up (and hopefully some MASSIVE lawsuits). Everyone loses their damn job. There needs to be serious consequences. If it can’t be criminal, at the very least it should be career ending.

    • ms says:

      Valeri was not the national team coordintor when any of this happened. He took over that role following Marta Karolyi’s retirement in 2016, after the Rio Olympics.

      He is, at best, a mixed character. There is no doubt he made some positive changes to the culture of USAG, but I don’t know if it was enough. i don’t know if it could ever be enough.

      • dj says:

        I don’t know anything but I thought it was VERY strange that the Karolyi name has not even been breathed out in this?

  12. Layla Love says:

    What did Nasser do to these girls to convince them it was therapeutic and not sexual abuse? There are so many young girl athletes today…please warn them of never appropriate touches by trainers, coaches and Docters!

    • PoliteTeaSipper says:

      He didn’t convince them. The girls reported him and nothing was done.

      • ms says:

        This is not accurate. Most of the survivors DID think they were getting “treatment,” by their own words. Very few reports were actually made and as far as I know (as an attentive year round fan of the sport) the first was made in 2015, which started his sacking process (which USAG horribly screwed up). Other reports were made at MSU and were ignored, and they did nothing to alert USAG. In the grand scheme of things, MSU is way more complicit than USAG – but both are totally screwed up in different ways. USAG absolutely created a culture which enabled Nassar to manipulate the hell out of these girls.