Aly Raisman is not here for any victim blaming.
The Olympic gymnast and sexual abuse survivor made it clear in a series of tweets on Sunday that she does not believe banning leotards from gymnastics will prevent future abuse in the sport.
“I was recently asked if gymnasts should continue wearing leotards,” she tweeted. “Leotards [are] not the problem. The problem is the many pedophiles out there & the adults who enable them. By saying clothing is part of the issue, [you] are victim shaming/implying survivors should feel it’s their fault.”
Recently, Raisman has been at the center of the sexual abuse scandal involving former USA Gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar. Nassar sexually abused Raisman, along with hundreds of other young athletes, under the guise of medical treatment for over two decades.
Rasiman directed her Twitter followers to her recent campaign Flip the Switch to learn more about victim shaming and how to prevent child sexual abuse.
Female gymnasts’ leotards weren’t always so form-fitting, according to a 2016 deep-dive from Elle. In the 1930s and ’40s, gymnasts wore loose-fitting leotards that had full butt coverage and often covered their shoulders. At that time, however, gymnastics was less physical and consisted mostly of dancing. As the sport progressed, the leotard became more form-fitting to accommodate larger muscles and more physical routines.
The 23-year-old has long-been a feminist advocate who’s used her platform time and time again to call out slut shaming and victim blaming. In a 2017 Instagram post, Raisman posted a photo of herself in a bathing suit and reminded her followers that women don’t need to cover up to be respected.
“Wear whatever makes you feel happy and confident,” Raisman wrote. “Don’t EVER let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t dress. We are all entitled to wear what we want. Females do not have to dress modest to be respected.”