Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman delivered a powerful victim impact statement on Friday during the final day of former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse sentencing hearing.
The 23-year-old athlete initially announced that she would not attend the hearing, but showed up to Michigan’s Ingham County Circuit Courtroom, embraced fellow gymnast Jordyn Wieber (who revealed she too was Nassar victim during Friday’s hearing) and directly addressed Nassar, whom she accused of molesting her on several occasions.
“Larry, you do realize now that we — this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time — are now a force, and you are nothing. The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere. And now, Larry, It’s your turn to listen to me,” Raisman said.
“You never healed me. You took advantage of our passions and our dreams. Imagine feeling like you have no power, and no voice. Well you know what Larry, I have my power and my voice, and I will use them.”
More than 130 women and girls have accused Nassar, 54, of assault, including gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas. Nassar pleaded guilty in November to several counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Raisman spoke out about the alleged abuse earlier this year during an emotional interview with 60 Minutes. She alleged that Nassar often touched her inappropriately and made her feel uncomfortable. She has since used her platform to speak out against sexual abuse and call for Nassar to be held responsible for the molestation.
In November, Raisman spoke to PEOPLE about how difficult it was to speak out.
“I was just so scared and nervous about what people were going to think,” said Raisman, who details the abuse in the pages of her aptly titled autobiography Fierce, which was released on Nov. 14. “I was a textbook victim, brainwashed to believe I was fine.”
She reiterated those sentiments in court Friday.
“Larry, you abused the power and trust I and so many others placed in you, and I am not sure I will ever come to terms with how horribly you manipulated and violated me,” Raisman said in her statement in court.
“I am here to face you, Larry, so you can see I’ve regained my strength, that I’m no longer a victim. I’m a survivor. I am no longer that little girl you met in Australia, where you first began grooming and manipulating.”
She concluded: “My dream is that one day everyone will know what the words, ‘me too,’ signify, but they will be educated and able to protect themselves from predators like Larry so that they will never, ever, ever have to say the words, ‘me too.’”
Nassar was fired by USA Gymnastics in 2015 after working with the organization since 1986 — he had been its national medical coordinator since 1996, the New York Times reported. He was fired from Michigan State in 2016.
USA Gymnastics officials announced on Thursday that the organization has cut ties with the famous Karolyi Camp, where several athletes have said they were sexually abused by Nassar.