In November 2017, Raisman came forward with sexual assault allegations against US Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar in her autobiography, Fierce. Over 150 young women, including Raisman’s former Olympic teammates Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, and McKayla Maroney, shared similar stories of abuse at the hands of Nassar. During the trial, Raisman delivered a powerful 13-minute speech that helped put Nassar where he belongs – behind bars – for the rest of his life.
“We have our voices,” Raisman said during the speech. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Shortly after the sentencing, Raisman appeared in Sports Illustrated’s “In Her Own Words” project where she and the other participants were, according to the publication, “given complete artistic and creative control in order to share their truth with the world.”
With her freedom, Raisman chose to display the word “survivor” proudly across her chest.
“I would like to remind everyone that being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you,” she told Sports Illustrated.
Despite backlash, Raisman continues to celebrate her survival and encourages others to do the same. She, along with Iskra Lawrence, Yara Shadidi, and Rachel Platten, is the first ever Aerie Role Models. The breakout campaign is part of #AerieReal, an initiative launched by the clothing company to celebrate unretouched bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Inspired by her Sports Illustrated shoot, Raisman helped design a swimsuit that will give others the chance to feel just as empowered as well. The black super scoop suit with word “survivor” emblazoned across the chest in white is both fashionable and impactful.
“I believe that we are all survivors of something, we are all battling something. Life is full of ups and downs,” Raisman told Teen Vogue, “so instead of acting like our lives are perfect, let’s help each other out and support one another. We need to talk about what we’re going through in order to heal. It isn’t healthy to keep things bottled up. For anyone suffering in silence, please remember you deserve to be heard and you deserve to be safe.”
100 percent of the proceeds from the swimsuit will be donated to Darkness to Light, a non-profit organization devoted to empowering adults to prevent child sexual assault.
“The lack of support and attention being devoted to the issue of sexual abuse within the sport of gymnastics, particularly at the grassroots level, inspired my partnership with Darkness to Light as they’re the leader in advocacy for the prevention of child sexual abuse,” Raisman explained.
Raisman acknowledged how helpful it is that Aerie supports her and other survivors in their efforts to speak out.
“It’s hard to find brands that genuinely care, but Aerie is one of the few and is helping me advocate for change… Aerie constantly encourages us to be the best version of ourselves and not compare ourselves to others,” Raisman shared with Glamour.
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