Olympic champion Simone Biles is the latest gymnast to come forward and share that she was molested by Team USA doctor Larry Nassar. Biles, 20, opened up about her experience in an open letter on Monday, January 15th. She shared the note on Twitter, captioning it “Feelings…” and “#MeToo.”
“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,” Biles opened the post.
“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she continued. “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 know now it is not my fault.”
Hundreds of athletes have accused Nassar of sexually abusing them, including Biles’ 2016 teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, as well as McKayla Maroney, who competed with Raisman and Douglas in 2012.
Biles explained that she initially wondered if she was to blame for the abuse. “For too long I have asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others,” she wrote. “It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused.”
She also firmly wrote that her experience of abuse “does not define” her, and that she “won’t let one man, and the others that enabled him, to steal my love and joy.”
And being the amazing woman she is, Biles hopes that her experience will help prevent anything like this from happening to other girls in the future.
“We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us,” she said. “We need to make sure something like this never happens again.”
Aly Raisman shared her support for her former teammate on Twitter. “I am so proud of you. You are incredible Simone. I stand with you. I am shaking reading your post,” she tweeted. “I know we will all get through this together.” She also tweeted her intent to get to the bottom of what happened, as well as a photo of herself and Biles at the Olympics.
As reported by CNN, Nassar is scheduled to appear in a Michigan courtroom on Tuesday, January 16th. All of the women and girls who he abused are being given the opportunity to speak at the sentencing. Raisman tweeted that she wrote an “impact letter” to be read in court in front of Nassar, as attending the sentencing would be too traumatic for her. In November, Nassar was sentenced to life in prison.
We applaud Biles for sharing her story, and we’re certain her bravery will make a difference in the lives of others.