They bravely stared down the man who sexually abused them and on the 2018 ESPY Awards red carpet, Aly Raisman and her fellow survivors shined like diamonds.
Aly Raisman, 24, arrived at the 2018 ESPY Awards on July 18 looking as good as gold. The three-time Olympic gold medalist was one of the night’s guests of honors as she – along with the other sexual assault survivors who spoke out against Larry Nassar – was to be presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Ahead of the ceremony, Aly walked the runway, dressed in an elegant white dress.
“I feel there’s strength in numbers,” Aly said while standing next to Jordyn Wieber, Tiffany Thomas Lopez, and Sarah Klein. As good as Aly and her fellow survivors – which include Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney – looked ahead of the award show, the night was not about their fashion, but about their bravery. The ESPYS wanted to lift up the women who confronted the disgraced Olympic gymnastics team doctor over the decades of sexual abuse. “Getting that award with this incredible army of survivors is very, I mean, it’s hard to put into words,” Aly told Good Morning America on July 18. “I don’t even know if it’s really sunk in yet. We’ve all been through something really horrible, but we’re all gonna get through it together.
“I think that’s such an empowering feeling — knowing you’re not alone. I hope that the abuse will end with us. I hope that people can learn from what happened to us, that this should never, ever, ever happen again,” she added.
Larry will never, ever hurt anyone again. After pleading guilty to sexual abuse charges, 156 women spoke out about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar. He was ultimately sentenced to 40-175 years in prison, which was added to the 60 years he was given following a child pornography case. While Larry will never breathe the air of a free man again, Aly made it clear that he was just part of a larger problem in society today. “There were a lot of gymnasts who had spoken up before the sentencing, but everyone kind of didn’t get it,” Aly told ESPN. “I feel like the media didn’t really get it either.”
“I think a lot of people don’t understand that this is so much bigger than Larry Nassar,” she said. “He thrived for decades. If someone thrives for decades, there are people who knew about it and did nothing. There were so many people who let us down…In gymnastics, you got a pat on the back if you were quiet and stayed in your lane — you never really felt comfortable using your voice…I think we have to change the way our society views women.”
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