Simone Biles has added her name to the list of U.S. gymnasts who claim to have been molested by their team doctor Larry Nassar.
The 2016 Olympic gold medalist made the announcement on her Twitter account on Monday. On Tuesday, nearly 100 other of Nassar’s victims will share their stories at his sentencing hearing.
In a post using the hashtag #metoo, Biles wrote:
Most of you know me as a happy, giggly and energetic girl. But lately…I’ve felt a bit broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams. I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar.
For too long I have asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG [USA Gymnastics], and others.
According to NBC News, “Biles’ statement follows similar disclosures from three members of the 2012 “Fierce Five” team — McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. They are not expected to be at Nassar’s sentencing, but 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher will testify at the marathon hearing.
“Hour by hour, Dantzcher and others will deliver victim impact statements — describing how they gave their trust to Nassar and were betrayed by a “monster” who violated them with ungloved hands, using his reputation and invasive “treatments” to mask serial sexual assaults.”
Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast publicly accuse Nassar of abuse, told WOOD-TV, “What people need to understand is these aren’t just anonymous people. These were real little girls, some of them as young as 6 years old. These were real young women who are suffering devastating consequences now and this could have been avoided.”
According to ESPN, “USA Gymnastics did not initially respond to a request for comment. The organization has taken several steps in recent months. President and CEO Steve Penny resigned under pressure last March and was replaced by Kerry Perry, who took over on Dec. 1.
“The organization hired Toby Stark, a child welfare advocate, as its director of SafeSport last summer. Part of Stark’s mandate is educating members on rules, educational programs and reporting. The federation also adopted over 70 recommendations by Deborah Daniels, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw an extensive independent review.
“That’s not far enough for some. Raisman has urged the organization to remove chairman of the board Paul Parilla among others. Biles, like Raisman, wants USA Gymnastics to take a deeper look at the conditions that allowed Nassar’s behavior to run unchecked for so long.”