Raisman sat down with Jonathan LaPook, MD, in a revealing interview, where she admitted, “I was in denial. I was like, ‘I don’t even know what to think.’ You don’t want to let yourself believe that, you know, I am a victim of sexual abuse. Like, it’s really not an easy thing to let yourself believe that.”
Raisman stated that she was sexually abused by the national team doctor, Larry Nassar, who worked with the U.S. women’s national team and athletes at Michigan State University for more than two decades. Nassar began to treat Raisman when she was just 15 years old, and, at the time, Raisman stated that she was too young and innocent to know that what he was doing was wrong. “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,” said Raisman. She also shared, “I didn’t know the signs. I didn’t know what sexual abuse really was, and I think that needs to be communicated to all of these athletes, no matter the age.”
Nassar is now in jail after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography, but he did not plead guilty to sexually assaulting underage girls. More tha 130 women have filed civil lawsuits against Nassar. Most of the women are athletes who have come forward to describe the “necessary treatment” he would give them, which involved putting an ungloved hand inside the vagina.
Raisman would not go into the graphic details of what Nassar did to her, but she did reveal who she believes is to blame. “Why are we looking at ‘Why didn’t the girls speak up?’ Why not look at ‘What about the culture?’ What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?” Raisman asked. Ultimately, Raisman said that she was inspired to come forward by the young girls who come up to her to ask for pictures or autographs. “Every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think — I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this.”
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