- By Nicole Moschella, Rare.us and Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Team USA gymnastics member Gabby Douglas came forward with her own allegations against team doctor Larry Nassar, saying she, like her teammate Aly Raisman, was sexually abused.
Douglas issued a statement via Instagram on Tuesday claiming she was sexually abused by Nassar.
“First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way I did to a comment that one of my teammates posted,” she wrote in response to her comments on Raisman’s own accusations against Nassar. “I know some of you may take what I am about to say as insincere, but I still wanted to provide context.
“The day before I commented, I was at an event where hundreds of children and young adults came to spend an evening with me. It’s very humbling when many people look up to you as an example,” she continued. “I take my job as a role model very seriously and I always want to do my best to represent all the best qualities that a role model should embody. I admit there are times that I fall short.”
On Friday, Douglas responded to Raisman’s tweet in which she called out victim-shamers after making allegations against Nassar.
“However it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd,” Douglas wrote in the since-deleted tweet.
Fellow Olympic gymnast and Team USA member Simone Biles promptly called Douglas out.
“Shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me... honestly seeing this brings me to tears (because) as your teammate I expected more from you and to support her,” Biles tweeted. “I support you Aly and all the other women out there! STAY STRONG.”
Douglas apologized later that day, later providing more context for her remarks in her Wednesday Instagram statement.
“I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you,” Douglas said Wednesday. “It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar. 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 extremely painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.
“I understand that many of you didn’t know what I was dealing with, but it is important to me that you at least know this. I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form! I will also never support attacking or bullying someone on social media or anywhere else,” she wrote. “To every other individual that commented to or about me hatefully, I apologize that I let you down too. I will never stop promoting unity, positivity, being courageous and doing good instead of evil. I have learned from this, and I’m determined to be even better.”
Raisman responded to Douglas’ statement with support.
“I applaud your bravery @gabrielledoug I support you,” Raisman tweeted Wednesday morning.
“Love you so much. So glad you know I would never attack you and that I support you too because united we stand, divided we fall,” Douglas responded.
USA Gymnastics also tweeted its support for Douglas.
“We admire the strength shown by Gabby and her teammates in speaking out publicly to hold a predator accountable,” the tweet said as part of a longer statement. “The organization has taken specific and concrete steps to prevent future abuse by adopting the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy.”
Douglas joins dozens of other women, several of whom are former athletes, who have accused Nassar of abuse.
On Nov. 21, Nassar plead guilty to seven counts of first-degree sexual conduct in a Michigan courtroom. CNN reported that he has been charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 11 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct at the state level.