In wake of the most recent Hollywood sex scandal surrounding movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long history with sexual harassment, abuse and rape, women (and men) across the internet are plastering social media with two simple words this week: me too.
The movement started trending on Sunday in an effort to shine a light on the magnitude of the problem that is sexual misconduct towards women, and it has completely taken on a life of its own.
Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney joined the movement on Wednesday morning, tweeting a photo document of her personal thoughts on the matter, and posting it with the hashtag, #MeToo.
— mckayla (@McKaylaMaroney) October 18, 2017
The 21-year-old said that the widespread acceptance and conversation about sexual abuse over the last week has encouraged her in speaking publicly about her own personal experience.
Former USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, has been accused of assaulting at least 140 girls and women, who were abused under the guise of his medical treatment and care.
McKayla Maroney was one of Nassar’s victims.
The former gymnast wrote on Twitter that she had been sexually abused by Nassar for several years, beginning when she was just 13 years old, after being invited to a national team training camp.
The abuse continued until 2016, when she left the sport altogether.
“It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated,’” Maroney wrote.
“Treatment” happened prior to Maroney and her team winning Olympic gold in London in 2012. It also happened before she won her personal silver medal.
But nothing was scarier than one night when she was just 15 years old.
Maroney details a 2011 incident that took place at the World Championships in Tokyo. In preparation for the extensive travel and long flights to get there, Nassar gave her a sleeping pill.
“The next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment,’” she writes. “I thought I was going to die that night.”
Maroney says that her dream of becoming an Olympian started while watching the 2004 Olympics when she was 8 years old.
“From the outside looking in, it’s an amazing story,” she writes. “I did it. I got there, but not without a price.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 18, 2017
Maroney says she’s speaking out for the first time now because Harvey Weinstein’s 30+ years of abuse is not isolated. This kind of abusive power doesn’t just take place in Hollywood among actresses who fear for their careers.
“This is happening everywhere,” she wrote. “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.”‘
She says that the silence of victims has allowed the “wrong people” to have power for far too long.
Maroney closed her powerful message with a charge to “take our power back.” She also encouraged others that it’s never too late to speak up.
In July, Nassar plead guilty to federal child pornography charges after federal investigators uncovered hard drives in the doctor’s home, containing more than 37,000 images of child pornography, including videos of Nassar assaulting young girls in his home swimming pool.
He faces 33 charges of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan, where he is on trial. Nasser is looking at 22 to 27 years in prison when he’s sentenced on December 7.
Are you or somebody you know a victim of sexual abuse? Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.