HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS) – An Olympic gymnast announced on social media that she is a victim of sexual abuse by former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar.
More than 100 women have come forward accusing Nassar of sexual assault and on Wednesday McKayla Maroney a high profile Olympic athlete says she is one of them.
Maroney posted a statement on Twitter on Wednesday.
In her statement she uses the hashtag “me too” which is a nationwide movement joining countless victims of sexual harassment and assault who have come forward in sharing their most vulnerable experiences.
But what does this message truly mean?
“It’s providing a very powerful platform for victims to speak up and be counted,” said Bobette Schrandt.
“Me too”…two words with an incredible impact.
It’s a movement that’s taking social media by storm and encouraging women and men to come out of the shadows to speak up about sexual harassment and abuse.
It’s a campaign Bobette Schrandt feels strongly about.
“It has started some conversations with friends both male and female to talk about these issues that we sort of swept under the carpet,” said Schrandt.
For the past ten years, Schrandt has been the President and C.E.O of LACASA which is a treatment center in Howell for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors.
She says “me too” allows those who may have been silent, to now have a voice.
“Victims are feeling supported, it’s not just them, they’re not alone in this,” Schrandt stated.
USA gymnastics champion McKayla Maroney is one of many who came forward responding to this platform on Twitter revealing her interactions with Larry Nassar.
Maroney says the abuse started when she was 13 and lasted until she left the sport.
Maroney goes on to say in a statement that Nassar assaulted her under the “impression” that he was performing “medically necessary” treatment while she was with the USA women’s national and Olympic teams.
At one point she even says Nassar gave her a sleeping pill before a flight to Tokyo and she woke alone in Nassar’s hotel room “getting treatment.”
She says she thought she was going to die.
Nassar is also facing dozens of “criminal sexual conduct” charges out of Ingham and Eaton counties with trial in Ingham County to begin in December.
He has pleaded “not guilty” in all of those cases and maintains that he used established medical techniques.
Schrandt says “me too” is a way for men and women to come forward to shed light on this issue.