Gabby Douglas Says Gymnastics Team Doctor Larry Nassar Abused Her Too: ‘We Were Conditioned to Stay Silent’

Gabby Douglas of the United States during Women's qualification for Artistic Gymnastics on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Gabby Douglas of the United States during Women's qualification for Artistic Gymnastics on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Gabby Douglas issued a statement on Tuesday, November 21, claiming that she was sexually abused by the USA Gymnastics team is coming forward and alleging that she was sexually abused by the USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.

As previously reported, Fierce Five members Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney recently accused Nassar of sexual misconduct. Douglas, 21, claimed in an Instagram post on Tuesday that she also had inappropriate interactions with the team doctor.

Douglas began her remarks by addressing the controversy surrounding a comment she made to Raisman, 23, on Friday, November 17. The Olympic gold medalist criticized her teammate after she tweeted about victim shaming in the wake of her own allegations against Nassar, although Douglas later apologized writing, “I am WITH you #metoo.”

“First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way I did to a comment that one of my teammates posted,” Douglas’ statement read. “I know some of you may take what I am about to say as insincere, but I still wanted to provide context.”

The Grace, Gold, and Glory author then explained the circumstances surrounding her decision to speak out against Raisman’s remarks. “The day before I commented, I was at an event where hundreds of children and young adults came to spend an evening with me. It’s very humbling when many people look up to you as an example,” she explained. “I take my job as a role model very seriously and I always want to do my best to represent all the best qualities that a role model should embody. I admit there are times that I fall short.”

“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,” Douglas wrote. “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.”

The award-winning athlete continued, “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. I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form! I will also never support attacking or bullying someone on social media or anywhere else.”

Douglas then reiterated her apology and reaffirmed her commitment to being kind to others. “Please forgive me for not being more responsible with how I handled the situation,” she wrote. “To every other individual that commented to or about me hatefully, I apologize that I let you down too. I will never stop promoting unity, positivity, being courageous and doing good instead of evil. I have learned from this and I’m determined to be even better. All my love, Gabby.”

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