On Friday, the fourth day of testimony in the criminal sentencing hearing of disgraced USA Gymnastics ex-doctor Larry Nassar, Team USA Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman delivered a victim statement that ended in resounding applause and praise from Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.
As she took the stand to deliver her statement, Raisman thanked the “army of survivors” who have spoken out against the doctor so far. She then turned her attention to Nassar himself.
“Larry, you do realize now the women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force, and you are nothing,” said Raisman, looking directly at her assailant. “The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere.”
In the course of her 13-minute statement, Raisman went on to detail the abuse she suffered at her former team doctor’s hands and its negative psychological aftermath. She also had strong words for USA Gymnastics, the organization that employed Nassar, demanding that the organization take accountability for its attempts to quiet Nassar’s accusers.
“Where is the honesty?” asked Raisman. “Where is the transparency? Why must the manipulation continue?”
“To believe in the future of gymnastics is to believe in change,” she went on. “But how are we to believe in change when these organizations aren’t even willing to acknowledge the problem? It’s easy to put out statements saying that athlete care is the highest priority. But they’ve been saying that for years when all the while this nightmare was happening. False assurances from organizations are dangerous, especially when people want so badly to believe them. They make it easier to look away from the problem and enable bad things to continue to happen.”
When Raisman concluded, Judge Aquilina commended the young athlete: “I’m an adult, and I’m listening, and I’m sorry it took this long. You are unstoppable. You are part of an unstoppable force.”
Raisman, who originally came forward about her experience of abuse in November, was the 73rd woman to give testimony this week so far. 120 women are expected to testify in total.
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(Photo via Getty)