U.S. Olympic gymnast, Simone Biles recently sat down with Priyanka Chopra-Jonas on If I Could Just Tell You One Thing, in which she discussed the aftermath of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar.
In the YouTube special, the 22-year-old gymnast revealed that she has been attending therapy because she’s “still going through things in everyday life that [she] still has to go to therapy for.”
“It all comes back to my childhood and everything that’s happened to me being sexually abused and all of that stuff,” Biles started. “Everybody knows about Larry Nassar and what happened with him,” Chopra-Jonas added. She then later asked, “If it’s not too intrusive, when did you know that you were abused? Because you were so young.”
The gold medalist shared that she had asked a friend to describe “sexual abuse” and was later validated by the same friend that she was indeed sexually abused. However, the gravity of the situation did not hit Biles immediately.
“I kind of brushed it off. I was like ‘no, I’m not willing to put that out there for the world to see. They’re not going to see me as ‘Simone the gymnast’ they’re going to see Simone as ‘the abused survivor.’ So I denied it and I buried it. I was very depressed.”
Biles went on to detail how her depression affected her day-to-day. “I never left my room, I was sleeping all the time and I told one of my lawyers, ‘I sleep all the time because it’s the closest thing to death,'” she said.
The famed athlete is one of at least 250 girls who was abused by the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor. Her teammates in the 2016 Summer Olympics Final Five team, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, were also victims of Nassar. Reported by CNN, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in a Michigan state prison to seven counts of sexual assault against minors in January 2018. That following month, he was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in federal prison to an added three counts of sexual assault.
A little over a year since his sentencing, Biles says she is now “feeling stronger.”
“It’s a lot better now,” Biles said as Chopra-Jonas offered her sentiments. “It wasn’t easy but I feel like I’m a stronger woman today. I feel like telling my story has helped younger girls.”