"I am here to tell you that I will not rest until every last trace of your influence on this sport has been destroyed, like the cancer it is ... how do you sleep at night?" - @Aly_Raisman speaks at Larry Nassar's sentencing ?? pic.twitter.com/xZ8x8NkobQ— Christina Manduley (@cmanduley) January 19, 2018
Larry Nassar, team doctor for the U.S. gymnastics team, may have been to blame for molesting more than 100 female athletes during the many years he worked as a Team USA Gymnastics coach, but it was the organization that ultimately allowed the abuse to thrive.
One of Nassar's many victims, Aly Raisman, made sure to expose everyone involved during Friday’s court hearing.
During the hearing, which took place in Michigan, many of the abused gymnasts made victim impact statements in court, but one speech in particular stood out.
As Raisman, an Olympic gold medalist, addressed Nassar and USA Gymnastics to report on how the abuse had shaped her life, she showed no mercy for anybody involved.
Aly Raisman delivering emotional victim impact statement in the sentencing of disgraced Olympic doctor Larry Nassar pic.twitter.com/W6FUa4oJrf— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) January 19, 2018
Telling the court that Nassar “manipulated and violated” her during the 2012 Games, she also stated that the “treatment” he provided was mandatory, and that he reported any athlete who refused to take part in it.
As the Olympian directly faced the disgraced doctor, she reminded him that the “group of women you heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force, and you are nothing.”
She then explained that “[r]ealizing you are a survivor of sexual abuse is really hard to put into words,” promptly letting her abuser know that none of his victims will feel powerless ever again.
“I am here to face you, Larry, so you can see I’ve regained my strength. I am no longer a victim. I am a survivor.”
She then vowed to bring abuse to an end in the world of gymnastics.
“I will not rest until every last trace of your influence on this sport has been destroyed like the cancer it is,” she said.
Addressing USA Gymnastics, the athlete said the organization is “rotting from the inside” thanks to how they handled the abuse, the reports, and then the fallout when the cases of molestation came to light.
After Raisman's 15-minute long statement, Judge Rosemarie Anguilina said Raisman was “unstoppable.”
“[T]he effects of your voice are far-reaching,” she added.
On Twitter, many people applauded Raisman's speech and her bravery, while others called out USA Gymnastics for their mishandling of the issue.
Raisman was bold, powerful, calls judge to hold those who empowered Larry Nassar to be held accountable. Raisman refuted USA Gymnastics' statements including they will no longer use ranch where much abuse happened, but failed to state athletes were training their yesterday @fox17— Dana Chicklas (@DanaChicklas) January 19, 2018
Watching Aly Raisman Commenting an USA Gymnastics and handing of Nassar. Many, many more people are culpable. The whole operation should be dismantled and rebuilt. So many lives destroyed.— George Siemens (@gsiemens) January 19, 2018
"Treatments with you were mandatory" - Aly to Nassar Think about that @USAGym. Who made them mandatory?— Cordelia Price (@CordeliaGymFan) January 19, 2018
With so many gymnasts opening up about the abuse they were subjected to, we hope that organizations like USA Gymnastics take these incidents to heart, acting accordingly by reviewing their procedures regarding abuse and taking quick action in case one of their athletes reports abuse.
These girls suffered silently for years before their reports were finally heard. We, as a society, can no longer afford to stay silent about the terrible acts of these abusers.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters/Brendan McDermid