Aly Raisman was told gymnasts' leotards are to blame for sexual abuse and her response is perfect
American gymnast, Aly Raisman, has continued strong on her mantra following the trial of Larry Nassar. The 23-year-old two-time Olympian, who has continued to assert "I am not a victim. I am a survivor", was one of the 156 women to testify against the former USA Gymnastics doctor.
He was on trial since January 16, accused of sexually assaulting more than 150 women under the guise of medical treatment. The week-long trial ended with the judge giving him a life sentence in jail after the courtroom listened to personal accounts of women sharing horrifying stories about the 54-year-old.
Raisman, one of the most well-known figures among the victims, has since taken it upon herself to become a powerful advocate for speaking out against sexual abuse in sports. She created the Flip the Switch campaign to prevent sexual assault in gymnastics, and has been actively promoting it on Instagram to her 2.3 million followers.
But recently, Raisman revealed that she had been asked about the appropriateness of the leotards gymnasts wear, saying that they might be an invitation for sexual misconduct. Since hearing the claim, Raisman firmly put her foot down and made it clear what she thought on the matter.
"I was recently asked if gymnasts should continue wearing leotards," she wrote on Twitter. "Leotards r not the problem. The problem is the many pedophiles out there & the adults who enable them. By saying clothing is part of the issue, u are victim shaming/implying survivors should feel it's their fault."
The Olympian would not stand for people blaming the victims, nor the clothing they wear. It's not the first time she's spoken up about victim shaming, choosing to pose nude and paint the words "Women do not have to be modest to be respected" along her leg for a shoot in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. "Abuse is never okay" were also words she chose to feature in the editorial to try to hit home that no excuses should be made for an abuser.
Sharing the picture on her own Instagram, Raisman accompanied the powerful image with the caption:
"Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy. Women can be intelligent, fierce, sexy, powerful, strong, advocate for change while wearing what makes them feel best. The time where women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies is OVER. The female body is beautiful and we should all be proud of who we are, inside and out."
She's mentioned in various social media posts before that women should feel good about dressing sexy if they choose to, and that it's never an invitation for any kind of sexual misconduct. She added that victim shaming is one of the reasons many people choose not to speak out about their experiences, fearing that the consequences would be worse than if they stayed silent.
It's extremely disrespectful to say that a gymnast's leotard – the required uniform for the sport – is to blame for the horrific acts of Nassar. Good on Raisman for speaking out about the issue.