Every #MeToo story describes an event that should never have happened in a culture that should never have allowed it.
Sometimes we’re talking about sexual harassment, and sometimes we’re talking about violent sexual assaults.
Sometimes, the hardest #MeToo stories to hear are the ones that happened when people were minors.
Like when Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by the team doctor.
And now Raisman is bravely sharing what happened in her book.
A month ago, McKayla Maroney shared that she was molested for years and years as a minor when she was an Olympic gymnast.
McKayla took to Twitter, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein rape accusations and everything that followed, and became one of the first of many women to share their #MeToo stories.
She described many instances of frightening sexual abuse, accusing Dr. Larry Nassar of using his age, medical credentials, and the high pressure culture of Olympians to keep her quiet.
Dr. Nassar, who is currently in prison after pleading guilty to child porn charges, allegedly abused these girls — for they were young teenage girls at the time — under the guise of "treatments."
And, of course, under the auspices of being a doctor in high regard.
Aly Raisman came forward with a similar story.
Going on 60 Minutes, Aly Raisman first expressed her ire at the (unfair) question that so many sex abuse survivors get asked: Why she didn’t immediately tell someone.
Aly’s response appropriately turned the tables.
"Why are we looking at why didn’t the girls speak up? Why not look at what about the culture?"
Adults are always seen as authority figures over children — doctors are seen this way more than most. But Aly Raisman suggests that there was more at work in her case.
"What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?"
It’s worth noting that USA Gymnastics is named in a lawsuit by Nassar’s victims, having been accused of negligence.
(Aly Raisman, along with McKayla Maroney, is one of the four gymnasts who’s accused Nassar of these evil deeds)
"I am angry."
We’re angry about this. We can only imagine that "angry" barely begins to describe how Aly Raisman, very justifiably, feels.
"I’m really upset because it’s been — I care a lot you know, when I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is, I just … I can’t."
"Every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think … I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this."
What we think that she means here — and she’s understandably not blunt about it — is that little girls love her.
She feels protective of them, as most of us do of young children.
But when a little girl idolizes her, she can’t help but think of that girl going into the Olympics and maybe some other doctor doing to her what happened to Aly.
Aly Raisman’s book, Fierce, shares some (obviously upsetting) details about Dr. Nassar’s alleged sex abuse.
For one thing, she writes that Dr. Nassar would sometimes come to her hotel room and insist that she needed a massage, then and there.
(This is yet another case of some creep taking massages, which can normally be entirely platonic or deeply erotic, and using it in the grossest way possible.)
To make things somehow grosser, Aly Raisman shares that Dr. Nassar would sometimes "close his eyes" or "seem out of breath" while working on her.
Aly had doubts, even when she was just 15, but she was apparently constantly told that it was an "honor" for a doctor as prestigious as Dr. Nassar to work on her.
It sounds like some of the adults who should have been looking out for her and her teammates simply did not want to know. That’s what the lawsuit seems to be alleging, at least.
Now, massage has a lot of legitimate therapeutic applications, and Aly Raisman had them from a number of doctors. Nassar, she writes, was conspicuously different.
"When I lay on my stomach to have my hamstrings worked on, towels were draped over my hips and buttocks for privacy and to ensure there was no inappropriate skin-to-skin contact."
"They never, ever crossed any lines in where they massaged and there was never a moment when their methods made me uncomfortable."
Right, that’s how it should always be in that situation.
"It was different with Larry. I would lie on the table, my hands involuntarily balling themselves into fists as his ungloved hands worked their way under my clothing."
"‘Treatment sessions’ with him always made me feel tense and uncomfortable."
Aly writes that she eventually asked to speak with an investigator about Nassar, but was told to not share that with anyone else.
It’s worth noting that there are, in fact, over 130 accusers against Dr. Larry Nassar.
And a lot of them have stories that are disturbingly similar to Aly’s and McKayla’s.
We need to make this world a better, safer place.