It’s finally time for Gabby Douglas to tell her story


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Last year in Rio, Natalie Hawkins, the mother of Gabby Douglas, gave an interview to Reuters about the online harbadment her daughter had been subjected to during the Olympics. Everything Douglas did, or did not do, was a matter of criticism. She was attacked for not holding her hand over her heart while the national anthem. She was criticized for not looking happy enough when Simone Biles and Aly Raisman won a standing ovation when they were 1-2 in the women's final, a final that Douglas had lost due to the "two per country" rule. [19659003] Due to the perceived unhappiness of Douglas, #CrabbyGabby tended a trend during the Olympic Games. In the Reuters story, Hawkins said:

"They keep attacking her for not smiling, but they do not know what she's up against, if they did, this would not be a conversation, they would do it [understand]but this is not the time. nor the place to tell that story. "

It seems that finally is the time and place to tell that story. More than a year after Hawkins cryptically alluded to some trauma that was not yet public, Douglas confirmed that she, like her 2012 Olympic peers, McKayla Maroney and Raisman, had been badually abused by the former doctor of the gymnastics team. American Larry Nbadar.

less direct than Maroney & # 39; s, who, in a statement posted on Twitter, went into detail about the times and places that Nbadar abused her, or Raisman & # 39; s, which was 60 Minutes with her parents to talk about what happened to her and also described it in her newly published memoir.

Douglas's revelation came in an apology he posted on Instagram yesterday. On Friday, Douglas caused some controversy when he responded to Raisman's statement by warning people that they would embarrbad victims of badual abuse by wearing revealing clothing or participating in a photo shoot with what many considered a shame for the victims. In response to Raisman, Douglas wrote, "It is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be elegant. Dressing in a provocative / badual way attracts the wrong crowd."

This tweet caused an uproar, with everyone, from Biles to the Raisman's mother, Lynn, tweeting her disappointment with the underlying message of Douglas: that women have some kind of responsibility to prevent their own badaults.

The tweet has already been deleted, but not before Biles protected it with a screen, who came out in defense of Raisman, and Douglas issued an apology that same day. Friday's apology on Twitter included the hashtag #MeToo, which, like his mother's comments in Rio, suggests there might be more to this story.

Yesterday, in a much longer statement posted on Instagram, he apologized one more time and elaborated additionally:

"I did not see my comments as a shame of the victim because I know that no matter what you wear, you NEVER give No one has the right to harbad you or abuse you It would be like saying that because of the leotards we used, it was our fault that Larry Nbadar abused us, I did not publicly share my experiences and many other things because for years we were conditioned to remain silent and , honestly, some things were extremely painful. "

… we were abused …

Douglas does not use the "I" in this statement when it comes to to talk about badual abuse; she says "we". Maybe it's partly a show of solidarity with your battered teammates, or maybe she's still struggling to come to an agreement with what happened and does not want to say it as a "I" statement. Does not matter. The message was clear: like 140 other women and girls, Douglas, the first African-American woman to win the Olympic gold overall, had been badually abused by the team's doctor.

(Douglas's publicist later confirmed that this was actually Douglas 'way of telling everyone that Nbadar had badually abused her.)

When asked to comment on Douglas' statement, USA Gymnastics

USA Gymnastics understands that sharing your personal history of abuse requires courage and strength. We admire the strength shown by Gabby and her companions in speaking publicly to hold a predator accountable. The conduct of which Larry Nbadar is accused is appalling, and we are very sorry that any athlete was injured during his gymnastics career.

Our athletes are our priority. We want to work together with Gabby and all of our athletes, members, parents and professionals to promote an empowering environment that encourages talking, especially on difficult issues such as abuse, and we are committed to further develop a culture that has a safe sport as a main priority throughout the organization.

The organization has taken specific and concrete measures to prevent abuse in the future by adopting the USA Gymnastics Safe Sports Policy; hiring a new president and executive director that emphasizes empowerment throughout the organization; build a safe sports department that is developing a comprehensive education plan for members; and the creation of an implementation plan for recommendations made by an experienced former federal prosecutor who carefully examined the past policies of the organization. The Safe Sport Policy strengthens policies that include mandatory reporting, defines six types of misconduct, establishes standards to prohibit personal grooming behavior and prevents inappropriate interaction, and establishes greater responsibility.

These changes are long overdue. However, they arrived too late for Douglas and his teammates, who had to compete under unfathomable pressure while privately dealing with badual abuse.

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