Olympic champion Gabby Douglas revealed Tuesday she was also abused by a former US team doctor as she issued a new statement responding to allegations she ‘victim-shamed’ team-mate Aly Raisman.
Douglas was criticised last week after an apparent barb directed at Raisman, who recently revealed she was sexually assaulted by US team doctor Larry Nassar, who is facing multiple charges of abuse.
Raisman had called for an end to shaming of sexual assault victims, stating that how a woman dressed should have no bearing on how allegations are viewed.
Douglas, however, responded by stating that women had a “responsibility to dress modestly and be classy.”
“Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd,” Douglas wrote in a tweet that was later deleted. Her comment was roundly criticised.
Douglas later apologised, and in a further statement on Tuesday captioned “Please hear my heart,” said her remarks were not intended as a criticism of Raisman.
“First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way that I did to a comment that one of my teammates posted,” Douglas wrote.
“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.
“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.”
Douglas’s representative later confirmed to USA Today that the gymnast had been one of Nassar’s victims.
As well as Raisman and Douglas, fellow US gymnast McKayla Maroney, 21, has also revealed she too had been molested by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.
Nassar was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country’s gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games.
He has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and is reportedly set to be jailed for 25 years under a deal agreed with prosecutors over 22 criminal sexual misconduct charges he is facing.
Nassar’s case was part of a wide-ranging scandal which forced the resignation of USA Gymnastics chief Steve Penny last year.
Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly notify authorities about abuse allegations.