UPDATE: USA Gymnastics has responded to Refinery29's request for comment with the below statement:
"USA Gymnastics 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.
We are strengthening and enhancing our policies and procedures regarding abuse, as well as expanding our educational efforts to increase awareness of signs to watch for and reporting suspicions of abuse, including the obligation to immediately report. USA Gymnastics, its members and community are committed to working together to keep our athletes as safe as possible."
Read on for our original story.
In the wake of the sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, people in all industries and walks of life have spoken out about their own experiences with sexual violence with the hashtag #MeToo on Twitter.
Early Wednesday morning, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney tweeted the hashtag along with a statement that said that she was sexually assaulted by a U.S. Gymnastics team doctor.
"People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood," she wrote. "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 U.S. Women's National Gymnastics Team, and the Olympic Team," she continued.
Maroney, a two-time Olympic medalist who was a part of the "Fierce Five" at the 2012 Summer Olympics, alleged that Nassar had been sexually abusing her from as early as the age of 13, and it didn't end until she left the sport.
She wrote that Nassar told her she was receiving "medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years," treatment that seemed to happen "whenever and wherever this man could find the chance."
"For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old," she wrote. "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."
Earlier this year, at least 40 athletes sued Nassar for sexual abuse claiming that he would perform what were referred to as "pain treatments" on girls as young as nine years old. He has been accused of assaulting more than 140 girls and women.
"Is it possible to put an end to this type of abuse?" Maroney wrote. "Is it possible for survivors to speak out, without putting careers, and dreams in jeopardy? I hope so. 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."
Refinery29 has reached out to the USA Gymnastics organization and the Team USA Olympics organization for comment, and will update this article if we receive responses.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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