As part of the #MeToo movement, McKayla Maroney posted a horrifying account of her experience with former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and the sexual abuse she endured as a member of the U.S. national team. Her descriptions of her experiences, which began when she was 13 years old, are brutally raw. She's fighting for justice, prevention, and zero tolerance for abusers.
Thank you, McKayla Maroney, for your courage to speak out and share your devastating and powerful story.
The #MeToo movement that has flooded social media arose in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein. Maroney used it as an opportunity to share her story and encourage others to do the same. Her bold statements have directed more eyes toward the growing Nassar scandal.
"This is happening everywhere," Maroney wrote. "Wherever there is a position of power, there is the potential for abuse."
I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.Nassar is currently in jail in Michigan after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. He is awaiting trial for on several separate criminal sexual conduct charges -- to which he has pleaded not guilty. Nassar has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse.
Maroney, who officially retired last year, is speaking out in hopes of change. She insists organizations must "be held accountable for their inappropriate actions and behavior."
USA Gymnastics responded to Maroney's allegations:
"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."
USA Gymnastics added that it is strengthening and enhancing the policies and procedures regarding abuse.
Dianne Feinstein, a California senator who has been spearheading change in the policy for reporting sexual abuse, is cosponsoring a bill that would make failure to report sexual abuse a crime. She wrote in a release issued Wednesday:
"It has become clear that for too long, amateur athletics organizations have shirked their responsibility of protecting young, vulnerable children.
That must stop, and it must stop now.Maroney hopes that other victims will step out in courage and the abuse will come to an end.
"Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long," she wrote, "and it's time to take our power back."
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