Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, 23, provides details about how Dr. Larry Nassar allegedly sexually assaulted her in her new book, Fierce: How Competing For Myself Changed Everything.
Raisman’s book includes her account of how the doctor crossed the line and used his title to sexually assault her. Many other women including Raisman’s teammate, McKayla Maroney, have since come forward and brought their uncomfortably similar stories involving Nassar, 54, and the USA Gymnastics.
She began treatment under Dr. Nassar’s guidance and his manipulation and abuse started when she was just 13. Raisman, America’s second most decorated female Olympic gymnast, went on the Today show Nov. 13 to speak about the assault.
“I always thought he was weird, but I just thought he was weird,” she said on the show. “I want people to know that I really didn’t know it was happening to me. He was a doctor and he told me that his treatment would help heal all of my injuries. “
The young Olympian said Nassar would “close his eyes” and “would be out of breath while working on her,” but she was not aware that the man was molesting her.
“When I lay on my stomach to have my hamstrings worked on, towels were draped over my hips and buttocks for privacy and to ensure there was no inappropriate skin-to-skin contact,” she wrote in her book. “They never, ever crossed any lines in where they massaged and there was never a moment when their methods made me uncomfortable. It was different with Larry. I would lie on the table, my hands involuntarily balling themselves into fists as his un-gloved hands worked their way under my clothing. ‘Treatment sessions’ with him always made me feel tense and uncomfortable.”
She also said the doctor would show up to her hotel room unannounced and insist that she needed a massage.
Raisman became more and more uncomfortable with Nassar’s "treatment sessions" and tried to bring up the issue, but she was told to keep quiet about the alleged abuse and about the doctor. It was easier that way.
“I know people will say ‘Why didn't she tell her mom? Why didn't she say anything?’ But those questions are unfair,” she told TIME. “The fact is I didn't really know it was happening to me. What people don’t get is that he was a doctor. I would never have imagined that a doctor would abuse me or manipulate me so badly.”
Raisman said that she did not feel the USA Gymnastics did enough to help her and keep her out of harm’s way. According to TIME, she wants to see a change in the way the USA Gymnastics handles sexual assault and abuse.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 13, 2017
She is not alone in her fight against Nassar for abuse and the USA Gymnastics for failing to forcefully pursue sexual assault reports.
Another Olympic gold medalist and former squad member of Raisman's opened up via Twitter how Nassar allegedly abused her since she was 13.
“It started when I was 13 years old, and it didn't end until I left the sport," said McKayla Maroney, 21, in a post on Twitter. “I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.”
When Maroney was 15 and competing in the 2012 Olympics, she told TIME she recalls thinking she was going to die at the hands of the doctor.
“I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. [Nasser had] given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a 'treatment.' I thought I was going to die that night.”
At least 125 women have sued the doctor alleging abuse. Nassar has denied all of these allegations of sexual assault but is expected to change his not-guilty pleas in order to close the criminal cases against him. Change-of-plea hearings were set for Nov. 22 and Nov. 29. As of now, he is in prison for child pornography.