Gymnast Aly Raisman shared an impassioned message on Twitter on Thursday, asking everyone to “stop victim shaming.” Shortly after, fellow gymnast and Final Five teammate, Gabby Douglas responded to Raisman’s message, with a rebuttal for scantily clad women of the world.
Raisman called out those who blame the victim and Douglas' response was to, well, blame the victim.“Just because a woman does a sexy photo shoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward about sexual abuse...Women are allowed to feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin,” Raisman wrote in her original message.
“It is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy,” read part of Douglas’ now-deleted tweet. “Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”
Douglas eventually apologized, tweeting that she was “deeply sorry” for the insensitive remarks. “Regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstance is never acceptable. I am with you,” she said to her Raisman.
Douglas and Raisman’s former teammate, Simone Biles, saw the exchange and explained that while she was shocked she wasn’t surprised. “Honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly & all the other women out there!” she tweeted.
News of lurid behavior in the national USA Gymnastics team community surfaced in February, after more than 40 plaintiffs, ages 9 to 18, stepped forward and accused a team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.
Raisman’s statement came days after she revealed in a 60 Minutes interview that she too was one of the women sexually abused by Nassar.
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).