Gabby Douglas is sharing her sexual abuse story, days after she was criticized for seemingly linking abuse to how women dress. In a statement on Instagram Tuesday (Nov. 21), Douglas accused former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.
The Olympian also reiterated an apology for her earlier comments in response to teammate, Aly Raisman, tweets following her own accusations against Nassar.
“First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way that I did to comment that one of my teammates posted,” Douglas wrote. “I know some of you may take what I am about to say as insincere, but I still wanted to provide context.”
Douglas went on to expound on her controversial tweets, and explained that she too has been a victim of sexual abuse and therefore was not victim blaming by saying that women should dress modestly to avoid attracting the wrong crowd.
“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,” she continued. “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,” Douglas added. “I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form! I will also never support attacking or bullying anyone on social media or anywhere else.”
Nassar, 54, is facing nearly two dozen counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after several women accused him of sexually abusing them when they were girls. He is expected to plead guilty in exchange for not being hit with additional charges.
Read Douglas’s full statement below.