In July 2017, former U.S. Women's National Gymnastics team and Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar was charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He's facing a life sentence if convicted. He also pleaded guilty to possessing child abuse images.
He worked with multiple gymnasts over the years, and over 125 women came forward with accusations against the disgraced doctor. Nassar's career began to crumble after reports of USA Gymnastics mishandling complaints filed against Nassar, which prompted more and more victims to speak out.
Now, arguably one of the highest profile American gymnasts in recent history has added her name to a long list of victims, and it's heart-breaking to hear her talk about the experience.
There is currently a movement called "Me Too", which is being promoted by Alyssa Milano, which is encouraging women who have been victims of sexual assault to simply write "me too" on social media. The idea is that others will realize how big an issue this really is.
Olympic gold-medalist, McKayla Maroney, who gained international attention for her flawless vault routine at the London Olympics, joined the Me Too movement and revealed she was sexually assaulted by Dr. Larry Nassar.
Maroney posted her confession on Twitter, and it immediately made headlines.
"Everyone's words over the past few days have been so inspiring to me. I know how hard it is to speak publicly about something so horrible, and so personal, because it's happened to me too.
People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood. This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary, and disgusting."
"I was molested by Dr. Larry Nassar, the team doctor for the US Women's National Gymnastics Team, and Olympic Team. Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving 'medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.' It started when I was 13 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps, in Texas, and it didn't end until I left the sport. It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was 'treated.' It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver. For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. He'd given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a 'treatment.' I thought I was going to die that night."
"Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it's time to take our power back. And remember, it's never too late to speak up."
You can read Maroney's full write-up here.
Maroney, who has since retired from gymnastics and moved on to a music career, is not the first woman to speak out about sexual assault and will not be the last. We stand with all the victims of sexual assault and harassment.