Gymnast Aly Raisman faced her abuser, disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, at his sentencing on Friday. It was the third day of statements from the 140 women and girls who Nassar had abused; the presiding judge, the honorable Rosemarie Aquilina, allowed multiple victim impact statements to be read with Nassar in the courtroom, awaiting sentencing.
Raisman, a two-time gold medal Olympian, made a powerful statement that has resonated beyond the courtroom. She begins by thanking the judge and saying she wasn't sure she would speak, but that the statements from survivors before her made her feel she had to despite being "scared and nervous."
"Larry, you do realize now that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long a period of time, are now a force and you are nothing. The tables have turned, Larry. We are here, we have our voices, and we are not going anywhere." Raisman says in the video below, which contains her full statement. While saying it, she looks directly at Nassar, stripping him of the title of doctor that many of their previous interactions likely contained.
Raisman continued, elaborating on how difficult it is to come to terms with being a survivor of sexual abuse. She lamented that it will leave the survivors of his crimes not only unable to trust in relationships but questioning their trust of the USA Gymnastics organization and the U.S. Olympic Committee, who did not properly care for or believe the multiple athletes he abused and were, in her accusations, complicit in allowing his abuse to continue.
She does, however, tell Nassar that he has not taken her love of gymnastics from her and that she will not rest until "every last trace" of his influence in the sport is erased, "like the cancer that it is."
Then Raisman issues a plea directly to Kerry Perry, the President and CEO of USA Gymnastics, to no longer issue "empty statements" to "pacify" athletes and truly fix the organization which Raisman says, "I feel is rotting from the inside."
Raisman details that neither organization has reached out after she came forward about her abuse and rallied fellow survivors to be prepared to fight for real change in the sport, starting with an overhaul of the policies put into place by Nassar that allowed him to get away with his abuse.
Nassar previously pled guilty to child pornography charges and was sentenced to 60 years in jail.
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).