Olympian Aly Raisman Says Struggles with PTSD Motivated Her to Raise Mental Health Awareness
The United States Olympic gymnastics team has suffered some blows to its reputation recently after sexual abuse allegations rocked it. One of the primary witnesses, Aly Raisman, recently opened up on how life has been away from the spotlight.
Raisman was one of over 350 girls who testified to being abused by former gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar. She recently sat down for an interview with TODAY, where she explained that she still deals with PTSD from the entire incident.
In the interview, Raisman, who won silver at the Rio Olympics, explained that she is prioritizing her mental health and wellness. She added that the entire ordeal had affected her in several ways.
The sexual assault ordeal was a pretty extensive one. Investigations exposed acts of harassment that have been perpetrated for decades, even to girls younger than 18. Being one of the girls, Raisman, had a first-hand experience of how it all felt. In the interview, she added:
"I feel like the sexual abuse kind of took away that trust in myself, which I'm really struggling to get that back. (PTSD) has transferred into different parts of my life."
Despite the problems that she faced, Raisman explained that things are getting much better with her mental health now. In part, she said that she had gotten better in trusting her gut and intuition. In times when things seem fishy, that trust has come in handy.
While she's not competing, Raisman is also advocating for gymnasts' mental health.
Raisman already announced that she wouldn't be competing at the Tokyo Olympics before the games got postponed. Per reports, she told fans that she would like to take some much-needed time to reflect on her achievements.
Given that she appeared in two Olympics and has even won the coveted gold medal, the rationale was understandable. However, many also opined that she still suffered from the residual effects of the sexual harassment ordeal.
Raisman herself added that she aimed to make gymnastics safe for younger girls. Whatever form that will take is still unclear.
While she's not competing, Raisman is also advocating for gymnasts' mental health. She told TODAY that the Olympics' postponement would devastate a lot of athletes, and they need to be in the right frame of mind.
Like several sporting events, the Olympic Games were postponed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. While it's unclear when the games will resume, some athletes have been keeping themselves in shape. Raisman added that while these athletes work, the goal should be to ensure their physical and mental safety.
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