This week gymnasts who were abused by former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar are speaking out. As of today, 120 women have committed to giving impact statements during Nassar’s court hearing. Today Olympian Aly Raisman shared her powerful statement. She wasn’t planning on being in court, Nassar is present for the testimonials, but she ultimately decided to go.
Her statement was empowering to survivors, unforgiving to Nassar and heavily criticized USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee, USOC.
“To believe in the future of gymnastics is to believe in change, but how are we to believe in change when these organizations aren’t even willing to acknowledge the problem?” Raisman asked.
Raisman then proceeded to call out USA Gymnastics and USOC for releasing statements but taking no action for change. She called out the current president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, Kerry Perry for only staying and listening to survivors’ impact statements for half a day.
“Unfortunately, you’ve taken on an organization that I feel is rotting from the inside, and you will be judged by how you deal with it,” Raisman stated.
Raisman expressed how these organizations need to investigate and recreate new measures to protect athletes because the ones in place were created by Nassar, who was the one abusing the athletes.
“They say now they applaud those who have spoken out, but it’s easy to say that now. When the brave women started speaking out back then, more than a year after the USOC says they knew about Nassar, they were dismissed.” Raisman is referencing the 2012 Olympics when people started speaking out about Nassar.
She continued and called out USA Gymnastics and the USOC for capitalizing and celebrating her Olympic victories, but when she came forward about Nassar they didn’t reach out. “So at this point, talk is worthless to me. We’re dealing with real lives and the future of our sport. We need to believe this won’t happen again,” she said.
All 12 minutes of Raisman’s impact statement was powerful and empowering. She is holding every party accountable that enabled Nassar to continue his abusive behavior.
Nassar claimed that Judge Rosemarie Aquilina was making a media circus of his sentencing by letting any and all victims time to make impact statements. He was brutally put in his place. “I didn’t orchestrate this, you did by your actions and your guilty plea,” Judge Aquilina told Nassar.
His letter asking for the impact statements to be stopped has become a talking point on many gymnasts statements. “As for your letter yesterday, you are pathetic to think that anyone would have any sympathy for you. You think this is hard for you? Imagine how all of us feel,” Raisman said.
Nassar has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for molesting minors under the guise of medical treatment. Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography.