Aly Raisman Says 'I Still Struggle' to Deal with Sexual Abuse: 'It's Hard for Me to Speak on It'
“Sometimes it feels like it's an open wound that won’t heal,” the Olympic gymnast tells PEOPLE of her trauma stemming from Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse
The 23-year-old opened up last week about trying to move forward, telling PEOPLE at an event for Aerie, “It’s something I still struggle with.”
Raisman says, “It’s still hard for me to speak on it, and there are moments where I feel insecure and I worry what people think of me. But I think that’s very normal.”
Despite that, the three-time Olympic gold medalist doesn’t regret speaking out against Nassar.
“I shared such a vulnerable part of my life,” she says. “But I think it was so important for me to come forward because people don’t understand that you don’t just suffer in the moment from sexual abuse or any kind of abuse or trauma. So I wanted to be honest with my fans, or anybody that was willing to listen, so they understand that everyone processes their abuse differently.”
Raisman says she’s also not afraid to ask for help, whether it be Facetiming her teammates or going to therapy.
“I’m very grateful to have all of my teammates support, and I do a lot of therapy and self-care to balance it out,” she describes. “I’ve definitely had moments where I worried I’m always going to feel like this, but I’ve learned through therapy that I’m not going to feel like this forever. And so hopefully, the more I speak on it, the more people I can help. Even if I just help one person it was really worth it.”
“I’ve been saying from the beginning that there needs to be a complete, independent investigation, and it’s completely devastating,” Raisman adds. “Since our abuse has been handled so terribly, it’s been very hard for many of us to heal. Sometimes it feels like it’s an open wound that won’t heal. We’re still trying to push for investigations, trying to push for change and get to the bottom of it so it doesn’t happen again.”
Raisman confronted Nassar at his sentencing in January 2018 in Michigan’s Ingham County Circuit Courtroom.
“The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere. And now, Larry, It’s your turn to listen to me,” Raisman said. “You never healed me. You took advantage of our passions and our dreams. Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice. Well, you know what Larry, I have my power and my voice, and I will use them.”
That month, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
While Raisman won’t compete with Team USA next summer at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she tells PEOPLE she will definitely be in attendance to support her teammates.
“I can’t believe the Olympics are already here this summer,” she says. “I’m very excited for that. I plan to be in Tokyo to cheer everyone on. It’s going to be awesome.”