Olympic gymnast Simone Biles has spoken out to allege that she was sexually assaulted by her former Team USA doctor, Larry Nassar.
Joining the #MeToo campaign, the 20-year-old athlete released a statement on Monday (15th January) revealing that she is one of Nassar’s reported molestation victims.
Biles said in a Twitter post: “Most of you know me as a happy, giggly, and energetic girl. But lately… I’ve felt a bit broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams. I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.
“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I now know it is not my fault.”
Biles was a key figure in leading Team USA to glory at the 2016 Rio Olympics and won four gold medals. In November, Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct after more than 125 girls and women filed lawsuits accusing the physician of molesting them during treatment sessions.
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 15, 2018
Explaining how Nassar abused his position of power, Biles continued in her statement: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust.”
The gold medallist went on to detail her fears of returning to the same training camp where Nassar’s abuse took place, ahead of her preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Biles continued: “After hearing the brave stories of my friends and other survivors, I know that this horrific experience does not define me. I am much more than this. I have promised myself that my story will be much greater than this and I promise all of you that I will never give up. I will compete with all of my heart and soul every time I step into the gym.”
Calling for action, Biles stated: “We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again. As I continue to work through the pain, I kindly ask everyone to respect my privacy. This is a process, and one that I need more time to work through.”
Among the group of Nassar’s accusers are Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman.
In December, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography. The former doctor is due to be sentenced for the sexual assault counts on Tuesday (17 January).
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