Aly Raisman has a powerful message for survivors of sexual assault.
The Olympic gymnast and survivor of sexual abuse was at Louisiana State University on Wednesday night for a conference event in partnership with the Delta Gamma brotherhood. Raisman discussed his book Fierce and how he has recovered since he filed accusations of abuse against the former US gymnastics doctor. US, Larry Nassar.
"It's okay not to be okay," Raisman told the crowd of more than 1,000 students, reports The Advocate.
Raisman, 23, spoke about testifying against Nassar in January during the sentencing hearing of the former doctor. More than 260 athletes accused Nassar of serial sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment while he was a trainer at USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University. He received three simultaneous sentences of 60 years, 40-125 years and 40-175 years of prison.
Aly Raisman talking about her day in court testifying against Larry Nassar #DGLSU #AllinforAly pic.twitter.com/D5j8j1KrmC
– Caitie Burkes (@ caitie1221) April 12, 2018
"I'm not as strong as I looked in those 12 or 13 minutes," Raisman said of his iconic impact statement, which he read aloud to Nassar in court. "I do not think people understand how much it affects me every day … It took everything that had to be strong at that moment."
She told the crowd that some people still believe that she should not complain about the abuse she suffered because of the gold medals she won at the last Olympics. To that, she replied: "The fact that you are winning does not make the abuse good"
"I think it's important to recognize that this Me Too movement is not only in Hollywood It's not just in gymnastics, not only in other sports, "Raisman continued, according to LSU's Daily Reveille. "It's everywhere, including universities, I'm not going to sit here and pretend, or anyone else, that sexual assault is not a big problem on these campuses, it's not something that's been talked about enough."
"He deserves to feel safe." Create space for education and support the conversation with @alyraisman and @deltagammalsu https://t.co/UjGWlrZvA3 pic.twitter.com/MmxvWrZXDQ
– Jessica W. O'Connor (@JessicaWOConnor) 12 April 2018
In a follow-up interview with The Advocate, Raisman reflected on his recent activism and what he expects to be his legacy.
"I want to be remembered for changing the way women are looked at, I want to see women be more respected," she said. "And I hope that some day we will reach a point where everyone understands that women do not have to be modest to be respected."
Need help? Visit RAINN National Hotline for Sexual Assault or National Resource Center against Sexual Violence website .