Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas won the heart of America during her gold medal performances in 2012 and again in 2016. Now, after apologizing for a comment she recently made about a former teammates sexual assault claim, Douglas says she was abused, too.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Douglas became the first black woman to win the individual all-around competition, effectively naming her the best female gymnast in the world at the time, according to the New York Times. She also won gold in the team competition at both the 2012 Olympics and 2016 Olympics.
But her sport has been clouded by the allegations of more than a 130 women who have accused longtime U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault, especially when they were still teenagers, according to People. In 2015, Nassar was fired and currently faces over 30 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Last month, fellow teammate and six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman accused Nassar of abusing her, Time reports. Raisman has continued to speak out against sexual abuse in her sport and wrote about it in an Instagram post last Friday.
“Just because a woman does a sexy photo shoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward about sexual abuse. What is wrong with some of you? AND when a woman dresses sexy it does not give a man the right to sexually abuse her EVER,” Raisman wrote.
She continued, “Women are allowed to feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin, in fact I encourage you all to wear what you feel good in. I will not put up with any woman or girl being shamed for wanting to wear a skirt, dress, etc. I do not tolerate it. Are we clear? Oh and one more thing. STOP VICTIM SHAMING. It is because of you that so many survivors live in fear.”
But Douglas replied to her on Twitter, saying that “it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”
Her comment didn’t go well with another teammate, Simone Biles, who replied on Twitter.
Now Douglas has apologized and is saying she, too, was a victim of Nassar’s abuse. She just made the announcement on Instagram.
“I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar,” Douglas wrote.
She added, “I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.”
Following Raisman’s announcement, according to People, Team USA Gymnastics said they are committed to creating a safe environment for their athletes so that such abuse does not happen again.
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