Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas has revealed that like teammates McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, she was also sexually abused by Lawrence G. Nassar, a former U.S.A. Gymnastics team doctor.
This revelation came after Douglas was criticized for social media comments that seemed to place blame on women who are victims of sexual harassment and abuse. In the since deleted tweet to Raisman, Douglas said, “…it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”
Douglas apologized on Instagram for the insensitive comments that were slammed by teammate Simone Biles, saying, “regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstance is never acceptable.”
In that same Instagram post the 21-year-old alluded to her own #metoo story.
“It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar,” Douglas wrote. “I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were very painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.”
Responding to an email from The New York Times on Tuesday, Douglas’s publicist said that through her Instagram post, “Gabby is confirming that she too was a victim of Larry Nassar.” No further details were offered.
In addition to Douglas, the Times reports that at least six other former members of the United States’ national gymnastics team have publicly said they were abused by Dr. Nassar: Jeanette Antolin, who competed at the 1999 world championships; Jamie Dantzscher, who won a bronze team medal at the 2000 Olympics; Jessica Howard, a three-time national champion in rhythmic gymnastics; Mattie Larson, a silver medalist at the 2010 world championships; McKayla Maroney, a star of the 2012 Olympics; and Raisman, who won six medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Reportedly, more than 130 women have said that Dr. Nassar had touched them inappropriately during medical appointments.
Dr. Nassar is in jail in Michigan, facing 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving at least seven victims, three of them when they were under the age of 13. Last week, he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges and will be behind bars for at least 25 years.