Aly Raisman is the Feminist Icon We All Need Right Now

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the name “Larry Nassar” at least once in the past few weeks. You’ve either seen the trial live on television, or you’ve seen clips of various speeches and testimonies floating around on social media. (Also, please note that throughout this article I will be calling Larry Nassar "Larry" rather than "Nassar" because he doesn't deserve the respect of being called by his last name. It's much more debilitating to be called by your first name in published pieces.)

Chances are you heard about Aly Raisman’s testimony.

And, boy, was it a test-im-ony. She was so composed during the entire thing, having no problem calling out Larry (who was ultimately sentenced for up to 175 years for sexually assaulting various female athletes that trained for USA Gymnastics and the USA Olympics) while keeping herself from throwing her statement at his cry-baby face.

You can tell I wouldn’t have been so composed.

Her speech was full of amazing one-liners that were featured on signs at the Women’s Marches all around the nation. She called the women who’ve been victimized by Larry an “army of survivors,” creating a powerful image of hundreds of women suiting up in Wonder Woman style armor and marching Larry to his cell, where he will be rotting for the rest of his life.

On top of that, Aly went on national television and proclaimed that USAG, the USOC, and other groups are being complicit in Larry’s crimes and violations. In fact, in an interview on the Today Show, Aly specifically mentions that it’s about the money and fame the groups were receiving, and they didn’t want to deal with an investigation of a doctor that could tarnish their reputation of creating stellar athletes. Additionally, she pointed out a serious issue with the entire situation: apparently, Larry didn’t even have a medical license in Texas, where the training camps and assaults took place. The organizations knew this, and they allowed him to continue to “treat” patients, when a treatment was really a chance for him to jack off to, touch, and pressure young female athletes.

I’m sorry, was that too graphic for you? Well, imagine what the victims went through. Imagine it actually having been done to you. Ready to vomit yet? You should be.

But it’s also about the fact that white men think they can do whatever they want and get away with it -- and for years, Larry DID.

So many people often ask why victims of sexual assault wait for decades to speak out. The response is simple: because their careers and medals were threatened. If they had come out against Larry and the sports groups when things were happening, would anyone actually have listened? Would they have had the chances to obtain the medals they did? How many parents were told about what happened and didn’t believe their children all because they wanted to be the ones to have an Olympian as a child?

The problem doesn’t lie with the victims waiting to speak until they feel confident and secure enough. It lies with those who belittle them for waiting so long. If this is you, then you’re part of the reason why victims feel they can’t speak.

Aly Raisman is the perfect example of a woman using her power -- and rising from her trauma -- to encourage and uplift others. Her words spoke volumes to victims, as well as those of us who had never actually known who Larry-effing-Nassar was before these past few weeks. Her words have inspired thousands, and I can think of no one better to spearhead the campaign against the systematic oppression of gymnastics and other athletic enterprises -- and women as a whole.