Titled “This is Survival,” Aly Raisman shared a testimony letter that she wrote to a judge before Larry Nassar was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in prison.
The full victim impact statement on The Players’ Tribune is here.
“Some days I feel happy and protected for sharing my story,” Raisman wrote. “Other days I have bad anxiety and either feel traumatized from Larry Nassar’s abuse or I fear something else will happen in the future.”
Raisman, captain of the last two U.S. Olympic champion gymnastics teams, first publicly said last month that she was sexually abused by Nassar when Nassar was a USA Gymnastics team doctor.
Raisman said that after Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in July, she was told that she could submit a statement for sentencing consideration and that she could read it in court in front of Nassar.
“After some internal back and forth, I decided I wanted to go to the sentencing and read the letter,” Raisman wrote. “I wanted to be present to not only show him I was strong, but also to explain how his abuse still impacts me today. … I needed to mentally prepare myself for speaking in front of this monster.”
Raisman said the judge denied victims the chance to speak one week before sentencing.
“I don’t want it to go unread,” Raisman wrote about her letter. “This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Every time I share my story, it feels like the first time. I relive years of trauma. But this is part of my truth and part of my healing. This is survival.”
Raisman, 23, said Nassar first treated her when she was 15, though she was at first in denial that it was sexual abuse.
“I always thought he was weird, but I just thought he was weird,” Raisman said on TODAY last month. “I want people to know that I really didn’t know what was happening to me. He was a doctor, and he told me that his treatment would help heal all of my injuries. I was so young. I had never really worked with another doctor or trainer before. Everyone said he was the best.”
In her book, “Fierce,” Raisman said she would not get into specifics of what she called Nassar’s abuse, writing “that information is private.”
Raisman noted in her letter published Thursday that she was overcome with anxiety when thinking about what Nassar had done. Once, she lost consciousness while taking prescribed anxiety and sleeping medications.
“I woke up to my terrified mom calling 911,” Raisman wrote. “I was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital, where the doctors realized the issue was a side effect from one of the medications. My doctor has recommended that I try other medications to help me cope, but the trauma of what happened with those medications put me over the edge. It just added to the list of things I was anxious and stressed about.”
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