McKayla Maroney says she was sexually abused by ex-USA Gymnastics doctor

Maroney says Larry Nassar began sexually abusing her when she was 13. Getty Images

Olympic champion McKayla Maroney, in a letter posted to Twitter on Wednesday morning with the hashtag #metoosays she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor.

Maroney says that the abuse started when she was 13 years old, and Nassar "molested" her under the guise of his profession. Maroney said that she was told she was "receiving 'medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.'" Maroney also voiced the need for change regarding how we treat sexual assault victims, while saying that victims of sexual assault should feel safe accusing their abusers.  

Maroney, a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team that won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, joins countless victims of sexual harassment who are using the hashtag "me too" on Twitter and Facebook to come out and say that they've been sexually harassed in some way. The social media movement has taken off in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. 

She wrote that she was "treated," as Nassar called it, at every opportunity. "It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver," she said. She added that it "didn't end until [she] left the sport."

Nassar has now been accused by over 100 young girls of abuse, and he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in July in the state of Michigan. He said that he destroyed over 37,000 photos, and is facing 22 to 27 years in prison.

Maroney detailed the "scariest night of [her] life," in which she said that she was given a sleeping pill for a flight by Nassar before regaining consciousness in his hotel room receiving "treatment." She was 15 at the time.

On the Olympics themselves, Maroney acknowledged the positivity of the game while also talking about the toll to get in. "The Olympics is something that brings people hope, and joy," she wrote. "It inspires people to fight for their dreams, because anything is possible with hard work and dedication . . . Sure, from the outside looking in, it's an amazing story. I did it. I got there, but not without a price."

This problem is allegedly systemic outside of Nassar, however. In February, another three gymnasts told "60 Minutes" that they were abused at a ranch for elite gymnasts in Houston, Texas. In order to stop the abuse, Maroney laid out some suggestions to conclude her letter.

Things have to change... but how do we begin? I'm no expert but here are my thoughts;

One: Speaking out, and bringing awareness to the abuse that is happening.

Two: People, Institutions, Organizations, especially those in positions of power, etc. need to be held accountable for their inappropriate actions and behavior.

Three: Educate, and prevent, no matter the cost.

Four: Have zero tolerance for abusers and those who protect them.

Finally, Maroney concluded by highlighting the root of the #metoo movement, writing "Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it's time to take our power back."

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