Top USA gymnast Aly Raisman told a Senate hearing how her abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar continues to affect her every day, emphasizing the long lasting impact of trauma.
“I personally don’t think that people realize how much experiencing this type of abuse is not something one just suffers in the moment. It carries on with them sometimes for the rest of their lives. For example, being here today is taking everything I have. My main concern is, I hope I have the energy even to just walk out of here. I don’t think you realize how much it affects us, how much the PTSD, how much the trauma impacts us. For every survivor it’s different,” she said.
Raisman is one of the more than 150 women and girls who said USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused them over the past two decades.
“Healing looks different for every survivor. The aftermath looks very different,” Raisman continued.
She described how she went from training seven hours a day for the Olympics to not having “enough energy to stand up in the shower” after she first shared her story publicly.
“I would have to sit on the floor and wash my hair because standing up was too exhausting for me. I couldn’t even go for a 10 minute walk outside. This is someone, I’ve competed in two olympic games,” Raisman said, adding that her 80-year-old grandfather has more energy than she does at 27.
“It has affected my health. In the last couple of years, I’ve had to be taken in an ambulance because I passed out. I’m so sick from just the trauma. It might not even be after a hearing like this. It just hits me out of the blue. So I think it’s important for people to understand how much, you know, even if we’re not crying, how much we are all struggling and how much survivors are suffering, because people often say, well, why did you just come forward now? Because it’s terrifying to come forward, the fear of not being believed, but also because it affects us so much. Sometimes it’s impossible just to say the words out loud,” Raisman said.
“It’s important for people to start recognizing you may never know what someone else is going through. But for people who have been through trauma, it’s really hard,” she added.
Raisman’s testimony today is part of a Senate committee hearing on the FBI’s handling of the Nassar investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general found FBI officials investigating the allegations violated the agency’s policies by making false statements and failing to properly document complaints by the accusers.