Aly Raisman, who recently came out as a sexual abuse survivor, stated that she won't stop speaking out against USA Gymnastics until she sees changes.

In an interview with CBS, Raisman revealed that she was one of the many gymnasts who fell victim to team doctor Larry Nassar's alleged sexual misconduct while competing for the national team.

Nassar, who has worked for the USA Gymnastics for almost three decades, is accused of sexually assaulting more than hundred of women. He pleaded guilty in July to child porn charges and is awaiting trial on sexual assault charges.

The American gymnast said that Nassar started treating her at the age of fifteen which was when the alleged abuse started.

"I was just really innocent. I didn't really know. You know, you don't think that of someone. You know, so I just-- I trusted him," said Raisman. "I didn't know anything differently. We were told he is the best doctor. He's the United States Olympic doctor and the USA Gymnastics doctor, and we were very lucky we were able to see him."

She said that his treatments made her feel uncomfortable but she would brush it off and tell herself "He’s so nice to me and I don’t think he does it on purpose".

Raisman said that he would always bring her desserts or gifts and buy her little things to gain her trust.

"He was such a master manipulator, and I think that’s what’s important for people to understand is that these monsters are so good at manipulating you so you’re so brainwashed to think ― I thought he was so nice," she told NBC's "Today" Show.

In her new book "Fierce", she wrote that when she was alone with him during his so called treatment, he would often distract her by saying how great she was doing in training sessions.

She mentioned that a female coach overheard comments that she and other girls made about Nassar while training. The coach reported their remarks to USA Gymnastics.

"Most of us thought the way he touched us was weird. But he did it to so many of us that we assumed, blindly, that he must know something we didn’t," Raisman wrote.

The gymnasts, who alleged that Nassar sexually abused them, said that they were sent to him for any kind of pain and that he often suggested massage as the treatment.

They claimed that Nassar's treatments consisted of invasive massage, touching them inappropriately as well as vaginal or anal penetration without consent and without him wearing gloves. 

Nevertheless, Raisman did not go into graphic details regarding the abuse as "that information is private".

The 23 year old gymnast believes that USA Gymnastics did not look out for her the way it should have.

The organization has a long-standing policy that adults should "avoid being alone with a minor."  Despite that policy, Raisman said she was alone with Nassar and that he treated her and other athletes in their hotel rooms during competitions abroad.

"Nobody ever educated me on, "Make sure you're not alone with an adult." You know, "Make sure he's not making you uncomfortable." I didn't know the signs. I didn't know what sexual abuse really was," she explained.

In summer of 2015, Raisman was caught off guard when a private investigator, hired by USA Gymnastics, paid her a visit and asked her about Nassar after a coach had raised concerns about his treatment of athletes.

At that time she was still in denial and told the investigator that no one in the organization made her feel uncomfortable, and made excuses for Nassar.

It was only after the investigator left that she began to put the pieces together.

The triple Olympic champion tried to call USA Gymnastics to speak about the things she would have told the investigator after she had time to process what happened to her, she received a text from an official asking her to stop talking about her experiences with Nassar, so as not to jeopardize the investigation.

"I was basically told to keep it kinda quiet and that they were handling it," she said. "So they didn't let me help, I wanna help, I wanna do more."

"The 60 minute interview tonight, this interview is just the beginning I am just getting started and I am not gonna stop until I get what I want which is change."

Following Raisman's sexual abuse allegation against the disgraced doctor, USA Gymnastics released a statement expressing sadness for any athlete who has been harmed and that they want to work with Aly.

They also said that they recently adopted a "safe sport policy" that requires "mandatory reporting" of suspicions of sexual abuse and also sets standards to "prohibit grooming behavior" and "prevent inappropriate interaction" between athletes and adults.

However, Raisman and her parents are not optimistic.

"With the exception of Steve Penny, the same people [are] in place. So I don't really have tremendous hopes that a lot of those policies will be enforced," said Raisman's mother.

Steve Penny, who was President and CEO of USA Gymnastics from April 4, 2005 to March 16, 2017, was forced to resign after the sexual abuse scandal broke out. The organization has recently hired a woman called Kerry J Perry to lead the sport's governing body.

During the USA Gymnastics' Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony this year, she and her teammates from the Rio Olympic Games were given the could shoulder.

"There was a table of a lot of people that are very high up in USA Gymnastics that were in the room. And they didn't come over. You know, my teammates and I were all sitting at the table, and they did not come over to say hi to us or to congratulate us," she said.

"All we've done is worked really hard. We love the sport. And we were treated like, you know, "We don't want anything to do with you girls"."

Asked if by speaking out against them would hinder her chances of making her third Olympic Games, she said "You know, I think that's a very valid point. But I think that this, speaking out, and creating positive change so that athletes are safe, is more important than any Olympic medal you could ever win".

Written by Gigi Farid



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