McKayla Maroney, a US Olympic gold-medalist in gymnastics, came forward on October 18 to share her harrowing story of repeated sexual assault during her time with the Olympic team. Maroney alleged that former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar repeatedly molested her over the years — starting when she was just 13 years old. She spoke out about the abuse on her verified Twitter account.
The 21-year-old gymnast was inspired by the millions tweets of #MeToo messages posted this week across Twitter. She stated that Larry Nassar abused her under the guise of providing “medically necessary treatment.” She went on to say that the sexual assault continued until she left the sport in 2016. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, was arrested last November for child pornography charges. He has been accused of sexually assaulting female minors throughout his career as well. His sentencing on the federal child pornography charges is scheduled for November 27.
Maroney is one of a number of women who have come forward with countless stories of sexual harassment or assault under the “#MeToo” campaign in recent days. Below is a screenshot of her message on Wednesday:
— mckayla (@McKaylaMaroney) October 18, 2017
Nassar pleaded guilty in June to child pornography charges and he has has been accused by over 100 women and girls of sexual assault and abuse during his career as a doctor for the gymnastics team. And still, he has yet to be convicted. According to The Washington Post, he faces 22 charges in Michigan over allegations of sexual assault.
Maroney was brave enough to share her story publicly and has joined the national discussion right now for sexual harassment of women by men. Her story has brought more attention and put the discussion directly in the spotlight. Sexual harrassment — both verbal and physical — is a growing problem in today’s society. Conversation has been growing daily since the downfall Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood film producer, which sparked the movement. Maroney does not specifically mention Weinstein but she does say that this type of abuse “is not just happening in Hollywood.”
USA Gymnastics said, in a statement on Wednesday, it “admires the courage of those, like McKayla Maroney, who have come forward to share their personal experiences with sexual abuse. Because of their strength in coming forward, predators can be held accountable for their actions. We, like so many others, are outraged and disgusted by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused. We are sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.”
Rachael Denhollander, another former gymnast with USA Gymnastics, said in court in May that Nassar sexually abused her as well on five doctor’s visits in 2000.
The USA Gymnastics said it was working on strengthening and expanding its policies and procedures toward abuse to prevent assault and abuse from occurring again.
Cover Photo: source