By Janyah Kelly, News Writer
Twenty-three year old Aly Raisman, American gymnast and two time Olympian medalist, is the latest gymnast to accuse Olympian doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. Raisman was just sixteen when Nassar abused her.
Months before the abuse, Raisman was in Melbourne, Australia, practicing for a competition. A representative with the USA Gymnastics team saw Raisman wincing through practice and recommended that she see Nassar. According to Time magazine, he was a great doctor, Raisman said the representative told her, and she could consider herself lucky that he would work with her.
That night when Nassar knocked on her door, Raisman let him in to “work” on her, according to Time magazine, this being the term used to describe Nassar’s treatments. What Raisman thought was a treatment was never a treatment but rather an invasive massage.
Raisman claimed that a knock was heard at her door at about 8:00.
“I thought you could use a massage,” She claimed Nassar said to her.
It wasn’t the first time Nassar appeared at her door, offering a massage under the semblance of therapy.
After years of making up excuses for Nassar’s behavior during the “treatment” sessions, she finally realized Nassar was abusing her sexually, and finally decided to speak out.
“I know people will say ‘Why didn’t she tell her mom? Why didn’t she say anything?’ But those questions are unfair,” she said in Time magazine. “The fact is I didn’t really know it was happening to me. What people don’t get is that he was a doctor. I would never have imagined that a doctor would abuse me or manipulate me so badly.”
Now Raisman says she knows better.
“I think she was living in fear, she was only sixteen, so she had to be scared,” Freshman Danielle Tucker said. “Scared of what the public would say about her, and how it would make her look.”
Raisman received a phone call from an investigator, who asked to speak to her but didn’t say what for.
The investigator was hired by the USA Gymnastics Organization to hold a conversation with Raisman about grievances against Nassar. Then the investigator asked about what Nassar did to her. At first she made excuses, confessing that he made her feel uncomfortable.
“If I were in her shoes, I would’ve done the same thing,” Ms. Maria Ausburn, Agricultural teacher, said. “Would I have made up excuses? No, but I sure would’ve told someone over him, like a supervisor, manager, or something that he sexually abused me.”
Raisman also confessed that Nassar was still a doctor and did not mean in any way to make her feel rattled, so he often gave her and fellow teammates gifts for compensation.
“If this were my daughter, I believe that I would’ve gone crazy, knowing that I sent my daughter to gymnastics, only for her to be sexually abused by someone who is supposed to be helping her is disgusting,” Ms. China Well, mother of six-year-old Mariah, said.
Raisman says she now feels betrayed, by both Nassar, whom she trusted as a doctor, and by USA Gymnastics, whom she trusted not to put her in harm’s way.
“He was always, always, always on my side,” Raisman said in Time magazine. “He was always that person who would stick up for me and make me feel like he had my back. The more I think about it, the more I realize how twisted he was, how he manipulated me to make me think that he had my back when he didn’t.”
Nassar went out of his way, compromising the trust that was established between the other girls, according to Raisman and others who worked with him.
On January 24, Larry Nassar was sentenced in a Michigan state court to 40 years to 175 years in prison on criminal sexual conduct charges.