Simone Biles Slams Gabby Douglas for Telling Aly Raisman Women Should 'Dress Modestly'
Simone Biles is coming to Aly Raisman's defense after Gabby Douglas was critical of the team captain's statements on victim shaming
A rift between some of the famed Final Five team members surfaced on social media Friday.
Raisman, who recently shared her own story of alleged sexual abuse, spoke out on Instagram about the victim shaming many women endure after coming forward about their own attacks.
“Just because a woman does a sexy photoshoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward about sexual abuse,” Raisman wrote. “What is wrong with some of you? AND when a woman dresses sexy it does not give a man the right to sexually abuse her EVER.”
The athlete continued: “Women are allowed to feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin, in fact I encourage you all to wear what you feel good in. I will not put up with any woman or girl being shamed for wanting to wear a skirt, dress, etc. I do not tolerate it. Are we clear? Oh and one more thing. STOP VICTIM SHAMING. It is because of you that so many survivors live in fear.”
Douglas, 21, had responded to Raisman’s message on social media on Friday with a now-deleted tweet, writing, “however it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”
Douglas was, in turn, criticized, by many on social media, including from Biles who wrote about her disappointment in Douglas in a tweet with a screenshot of Douglas’ comment.
“shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me…,” Biles wrote to Douglas. “honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly & all the other women out there! STAY STRONG.”
While Douglas deleted her original tweet, she did defend herself against Twitter users who slammed her for what she had written.
“u misunderstood me,” Douglas wrote to one user. “Not blaming the victim at all. No man should look at any woman that way.”
The user tweeted at Douglas again, writing, “So instead of calling on women to dress modestly you better be calling on MEN to RESPECT WOMEN. It is NOT the woman’s responsibility to make sure she is not assaulted.”
Douglas responded with, “it goes both ways.”
Raisman writes about the ordeal in her new book, Fierce, explaining that she was 15 years old when she was first treated by Nassar. She told PEOPLE that, for a long time, she didn’t understand that she was being abused.
“I didn’t think I was being molested. I didn’t know,” Raisman said. “He was a doctor. I never would have thought that a doctor would misuse his power so much.”
Nassar was fired by USA Gymnastics in 2015 after working with the organization since 1986, and had been its national medical coordinator since 1996, The New York Times reported. He was fired from Michigan State last year.
He is in jail now, facing several charges related to the alleged abuse. In July, he pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges in federal court, ABC News reported via ESPN. In exchange for Nassar’s guilty plea, U.S. prosecutors have agreed not to pursue charges in two additional incidents of alleged sexual crimes with minors. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Dec. 7, according to the Lansing State Journal.
Lawyers for Nassar declined PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In a statement Sunday, Team USA Gymnastics said in part: “We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.
“Aly’s passion and concern for athlete safety is shared by USA Gymnastics. Our athletes are our priority, and we are committed to promoting an environment of empowerment that encourages speaking up, especially on difficult topics like abuse, as well the protection of athletes at all levels throughout our gymnastics community.
“We are hard at work to strengthen that commitment by: adopting the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy; hiring a new president and chief executive officer who emphasizes empowerment throughout the organization; building a safe sport department that is developing a comprehensive education plan for members; and creating an implementation plan for the recommendations made by an experienced, former federal prosecutor who carefully examined the organization’s past policies.”
The statement concluded: “We are committed to doing what is right, and we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.”