(NEW YORK) — One day after delivering bombshell testimony about the FBI’s mishandling of the Larry Nasser sexual abuse scandal, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman said she hopes her voice and the voices of fellow victims are finally heard.
“I hope that this is the day that somebody listens to us and somebody investigates what happened,” Raisman, 27, said Thursday on Good Morning America. “Because we’ve been actually saying the same thing for years, but not much has happened.”
Raisman joined fellow gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols in testifying Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the FBI’s handling of the case against Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor.
Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and women.
“I really hope that people realize just how bad things are,” Raisman said on GMA. “This is a really big coverup, and the fact that the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee didn’t think that this was important enough to handle it the right way is horrific.”
Raisman continued, “Nasser was first reported decades ago and I … should have never met him.”
A Justice Department inspector general report released in July determined that the FBI made “fundamental errors” in its response to allegations against Nassar that were first brought to the agency in July 2015.
Raisman and her fellow gymnasts painted a portrait in their testimony of a system that failed them after they reported Nassar’s abuse.
Raisman, for example, told senators that it took more than 14 months for the FBI to interview her. When she finally spoke with an agent, the agent “diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case wasn’t worth pursuing,” Raisman said.
Raisman later described the delay in investigating Nassar as “like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter.”
The gymnast said on GMA she hopes the senators who heard their stories take action.
“[The senators] seem to be validating, they seem to have been very supportive yesterday, and I hope they take that support and put it into action and actually do an investigation,” said Raisman. “The people that wronged us need to be held accountable so that no child gets hurt.”
“Some of those people who enabled us might still be in positions of power,” she said, noting the investigation needs to look at the FBI as well as USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. “We don’t know because we don’t have the answers yet.”
In her testimony Wednesday, Raisman also described the ongoing mental health struggles she faces from both the sexual abuse and the unanswered questions surrounding the handling of Nassar’s case.
She said on GMA that not only does she relive the abuse every time she speaks about it, but she also feels the responsibility of being a sexual abuse survivor with a large platform.
“I recognize that most survivors don’t have the opportunity to come on Good Morning America,” she said. “I’m very grateful that I do get to come on, but I take that responsibility very seriously.”
“I think about the other survivors, the little boy, the little girl at home that is abused in their family and they are are told that their abuse doesn’t matter, that they’re making it up,” Raisman said. “I am fighting for that person because I know that this is so much bigger than me.”
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