Aly Raisman Recounts FBI Agent 'Diminishing My Abuse' During Larry Nassar Investigation
Aly Raisman is not holding back about her interactions with the FBI during their investigation into the sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nasar.
The retired Olympic gymnast, 27, accused one unnamed FBI agent of trivializing her experience in an interview with Today on Thursday, just one day after speaking to the U.S. Senate during a hearing on the matter.
"The agent just kept diminishing my abuse and telling me that he didn't feel like it was that big of a deal and maybe I should drop the case," she alleged to hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie via video call.
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Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in January 2018 after more than 150 women and girls accused him of sexual abuse over a 20-year span. Raisman was among those women.
Now, Raisman is among the gymnasts calling for an investigation into the FBI, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics and the "interplay" between the organizations "in order for us to be confident this won't happen again."
Raisman was joined by Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols and McKayla Maroney to speak Wednesday at the hearing on the Justice Department Inspector General report regarding the FBI's response to 2015 sexual abuse allegations against Nassar.
"It was just not a good experience," Raisman told Today about the investigation, "and listening to McKayla Maroney's testimony was just gut-wrenching to hear her experience as well. It's devastating."
Raisman said she and her peers are "very grateful" that senators at the hearing "seemed to be very validating and very supportive" of Nassar's victims. Now, she is hopeful that they will act.
"My question to them is if they [senators] can help us and if they can get those investigations rolling for us because we've been asking for them for years," she said. "Why did this person get to retire? What did they do that the FBI felt was not okay that they had to let them go? Why did they get to slip out the back door like so many others have?"
Raisman also slammed the Department of Justice for failing to appear at Wednesday's hearing. "I'm very disappointed that nobody from the Department of Justice came. It just to me sends the message that they didn't think it was worth their time, which is really concerning," she said.
Still, Raisman is proud of herself and her fellow Team USA gymnasts for speaking out. The Olympic gold medalist said on Today that she felt "so many different emotions" in wake of her testimony: "I'm anxious. I'm triggered. I'm drained."
"It's heartbreaking even just to listen back to my teammates and my very close friends, their testimonies. I'm so proud of them, and it's hard," she said. "It's hard to do that. It's hard to go out there and share so much."
Later, while appearing again on the 3rd Hour of Today, Raisman discussed how often survivors of abuse "aren't believed."
"When you do speak up and somebody doesn't believe you, it can prevent a survivor from talking about it again because that's another trauma," she explained. "And people don't realize that every time someone doesn't support you, it's another trauma. And so often, I think that survivors already diminish and don't trust what they feel and we tell ourselves, 'It's not that bad. Somebody probably has it worse. I won't say anything. What If I'm wrong?' And our society often enables the abuser."
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.