They say youth is wasted on the young and sometimes when you see stories like this one you cannot help but think that it must be difficult trying to balance the pressure of real life ordeals, your own mental space and social media all at the same time.
Recently Gabby Douglas got herself in hot water for victim-shaming suggesting that if women dress modestly they could avoid harassment. She said this in response to her teammates Aly Raisman’s stance on sexual assault victims.
(The background to Aly’s statement is due to her own experience with abuse from gymnast doctor Larry Nassar who pleaded guilty to molestation charges.)
Since then Gabby has also come out as a victim of molestation despite her response to Aly originally, she wrote a heartfelt apology on social media bringing her own abuse to light.
“please hear my heart”:
“First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way that I did to a comment that one of my teammates posted. I know some of you may take what I am about to say as insincere, but I still wanted to provide context.
The day before I commented, I was at an event where hundreds of children and young adults came to spend an evening with me. It’s very humbling when many people look up to you as an example. I take my job as a role model very seriously and i always want to do my best to represent all the best qualities that a role model should embody. I admit there are times that I fall short.
I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. It would be like saying that because the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar. I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.
I understand that many of you didn’t know what I was dealing with, but it is important to me that you at least know this. I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form! I will also never support attacking or bullying anyone on social media or anywhere else.
Please forgive me for not being more responsible with how I handled the situation. To every other individual that commented to or about me hatefully, I apologize that I let you down too. I will never stop promoting unity, positivity, strength, being courageous and doing good instead of evil. I have learned from this and I’m determined to be even better.
All my love,
This was Simone’s response to the whole thing:
shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly ? & all the other women out there!
STAY STRONG pic.twitter.com/CccTzhyPcb
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) November 17, 2017
My opinion is simple, the fact that these girls have to go through any sort of abuse is very sad, and I am glad that man is behind bars.
I would have however handled this whole thing very differently if I were Gabby, maybe support her teammate from the beginning and at the same time possibly sharing your story either with her personally or with her audience.
We do live and we learn, the entire thing is shameful!