Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney is the latest high-profile woman to reveal she was sexually abused, coming forward as a result of the ‘me too’ campaign on social media.
Maroney claims she was molested by Dr. Larry Nassar, the team doctor for US Women’s National Gymnastics and the Olympic team, from the time she was 13 years old until she left the sport.
“Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he has been performing on patients for over 30 years,’ “ the now 21-year-old wrote in a post on Twitter Tuesday. "It seems whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated.’ "
Maroney continued to describe the sexual experiences, recalling one night Dr. Nassar used drugs to lure her into his hotel room.
“I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo,” she wrote. “He’d given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment.’ I thought I was going to die that night.”
Since molesting Maroney, Nassar has become a registered sex offender after pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in July. He is also awaiting trial on another criminal charge of sexual misconduct and is being sued by more than 125 women in civil court who allege he sexually assaulted them.
Several former athletes who are suing the doctor claim he inserted fingers, without gloves, into their bodies and fondled their breasts under the guise of medical treatment.
The Olympian chose to share her story after reading messages of other victims of sexual harassment or assault via the ‘me too’ campaign circulating on social media. She said it’s important to remember that this disturbing reality is present everywhere, not just in Hollywood. The movement comes after Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein was accused by several women of sexual misconduct.
“Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse,” she continued. “I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary, and disgusting.”
Maloney concluded her emotional post by offering a few ways to inspire change in this overwhelmingly apparent culture of sexual abuse, including having “zero tolerance for abusers and those who protect them.”
Photo credit: Getty / Ronald Martinez / Contributor