Olympian Gabrielle Douglas made history during the 2012 London Olympics by becoming the first Black gymnast to earn the title of Individual All-Around Champion. She was also the first female gymnast of color to ever boast such a title.
But on Tuesday, she confessed that her road to Olympic stardom was tainted by sexual assault.
Douglas became the third member of the the “London Fierce Five” artistic gymnastics team to reveal she was sexually violated by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Her revelation was mentioned briefly in an apology letter to a fellow teammate for offensive comments she made in regards to the shaming of rape victims.
On Friday, the young athlete’s Fierce Five teammate Aly Raisman condemned the tired argument that a woman’s attire implies she’s asking to be raped or assaulted. Raisman recently opened up about being violated by Nassar as well in her new memoir. Douglas responded to Raisman’s tweet by saying that women must take it upon themselves to dress modestly to avoid attracting depraved souls.
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
The 21-year-old was promptly “canceled” by a number of social media users. Fellow Olympic gymnast Simone Biles even criticized Douglas’ problematic point of view. But given Douglas’ age and recent admission of her own victimhood, many empathize with the young woman and attribute her statements to naivety.
But given Douglas’ age and recent admission of her own victimhood, a number of social media users empathize with the young woman and attribute her statements to naivety.
Yall "cancelled" Gabby Douglas and it turns out she was a victim and responded to abuse how a victim possibly could. Yall quiet now tho 😶
— Chi Like Da Flatiron (@Ipraisewomen) November 22, 2017
People cancelled Gabby Douglas but your homegirl said the same thing last week? What she said absolutely isn't right yet so many people continue to keep friends that agree with what she said & only cancel celebrities to fit in 🙃 https://t.co/6RrWFDAa6J
— 𝑀𝒶𝓎𝒻𝓁𝑜𝓌𝑒𝓇𝓇𝓇𝓇 & 𝒞𝒽𝒾𝓁𝓁🍂 (@Moyooxo) November 18, 2017
Raisman, who wrote the post in which Douglas made her regretful retort, stuck up for her teammate as well.
I applaud your bravery @gabrielledoug I support you.
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) November 22, 2017
Nassar pleaded guilty to seven charges of molestation on Wednesday although over 125 women and children have filed lawsuits and complaints against the 54-year-old. He could face a minimum between 25 and 40 years in prison if convicted.