As the “#MeToo” campaign continues, stars from across the entertainment world have revealed horror stories of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein.
We’ve heard other stars like Reese Witherspoon reveal their own stories of sexual assault and/or harassment in the entertainment industry.
With each passing day, the list of famous names grows.
Countless women — and men — have taken to social media to share their stories as celebrities and non-celebrities alike.
Early this morning, decorated Olympic gymnast and meme star McKayla Maroney took to social media to share hers.
McKayla Maroney is a household name, as much for her Olympic accomplishments as a gymnast as for her adorable looks.
Her expression of disappointment, or being “not impressed” upon winning a silver medal is so iconic that it became a meme.
When she met President Barack Obama, the two posed together doing her meme body language and facial expression.
Barack does a pretty good impression of her …
(The second place belt at my own trivia night is just called “The Maroney,” and has a large photo of a very disappointed McKayla Maroney on it.)
Of course, McKayla Maroney is a gold medal gymnast and pretty much universally beloved.
And while no one questions that’s she’s gorgeous – McKayla isn’t shy about taking sexy gold medal selfies, and why should she be? – McKayla first rose to Olympic stardom when she was a minor.
She’s now come forward with her “#MeToo” story, and unfortunately it begins before she was an international icon.
McKayla shared her story on Twitter and, fair warning, this is tough to read.
“Everyone’s words over the past few days have been so inspiring to me. I know how hard it is to speak publicly about something so horrible, and so personal, because it’s happened to me too.”
We cannot imagine how difficult this was for her to write.
“People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,” she adds. “This is happening everywhere.”
“Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse.”
“I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.”
This should never, ever have happened. But it’s not her fault.
“I was molested by Dr. Larry Nassar, the team doctor for the US Women’s National Gymnastics Team and Olympic Team.”
Not everyone is naming names, for a variety of reasons. That’s every individual survivor’s decision to make. McKayla’s choice in naming her abuser was made a little easier.
Dr. Nassar, who was team doctor from 1996 to 2015, has already pleaded guilty to child porn charges and is set to stand trial for the sexual assault of nine different girls.
McKayla is certainly the highest profile Olympian to come forward.
“Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.'”
That line is horrifying in two different ways. One: it’s how he used his authority to gain her confidence. Two: it’s a chilling suggestion that he could have countless other victims.
“It started when I was 13 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps, in Texas, and it didn’t end until I left the sport. It seemed whenever and wherever the man could find a chance, I was ‘treated.'”
That is absolutely monstrous.
“It happened in London before my team and I won the Gold Medal, and it happened before I won my Silver.”
There’s some very grim context for you.
“For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo.”
“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.”
That’s something out of a nightmare, but for McKayla, it’s just part of her life.
“Things have to change … but how do we begin? I’m not expert, but here are my thoughts.”
She presents a formula for repairing our broken world.
“One: speaking out, and bringing awareness to the abuse that is happening.”
“This can be the most frightening and dangerous.”
“Just saying that you were a victim can change the way that people see you and bring accusationst hat it was your fault. Accusing someone, especially someone powerful, is much more intimidating.”
“Two: people, institutions, organizations, especially those with positions of power, etc, need to be held accountable for their inappropriate actions and behavior.”
That’s absolutely right. If someone’s organization or company is standing by them after they’re accused, what does that say about the culture? Nothing good.
“Three: educate and prevent, no matter the cost.”
Remember, this nightmare began for McKayla when she was underage. A doctor with a lot of authority told her something, and every ounce of social conditioning told her to take him at his word.
People need to know how to recognize abuse. And adults need to know how to respond when they hear about this.
“Four: have zero tolerance for abusers and those who protect them.”
This is perhaps the most important one. Did you know that Johnny Depp is still getting work? Did you know that, though Weinstein’s been expelled, Bill Cosby and Woody Allen are still part of the Academy?
Abusers should never know peace or love or friendship. That shouldn’t be a radical statement, folks; we’re talking about monsters who ruin lives.
McKayla finishes this gut-wrenching but insightful post with some educated optimism.
“Is it possible to put an end to this type of abuse? Is it possible for survivors to speak out without putting their careers and dreams in jeopardy? I hope so.”
We hope so, too.
“Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long and it’s time to take our power back. And remember, it’s never too late to speak up.”
McKayla Maroney is such a good person. We don’t deserve her.
And she deserves a lot better than what life has handed her.
Thank you, McKayla, for speaking up.