Aly Raisman: Banning leotards from gymnastics to prevent abuse is a form of 'victim shaming'

There’s been much debate over how to tackle sexual abuse against young gymnasts following the trial of sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 260 people accused him of molesting them.

For Aly Raisman, one of the many athletes abused by Nassar, real reform means holding everyone accountable. Earlier this year the gold medalist filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic Committee for failing to pursue allegations about him.

But there’s one proposed solution she won’t entertain: a new dress code for gymnasts.

Raisman took to Twitter to lambast suggestions that gymnasts should stop wearing leotards to deter would-be abusers.

The Olympian said such measures implied that the athletes were partly responsible for the actions of perpetrators like Nassar.


Raisman’s post was largely met with agreement, with many pointing out that leotards are required for safety.

“So once again, a problem that stems from men is looking to the women as the culprit, and for women to fix it on their behalf,” one commenter said.

“I guess by this logic swimmers shouldn’t wear bathing suits either,” added another. 

“So I guess assault only happens to gymnasts? People have lost their minds,” stated another comment.

Yet there was an argument that leotards could incite misbehavior.

“Actually, being a former gymnast, I think the leotards are incredibly revealing and in bad taste,” one person tweeted. “In fact, I think that uniforms in many sports and even children’s clothing is incredibly sexualized. It’s not the wearer’s fault. But this kind of image invites sexual misconduct.”

That thinking is unlikely to hold water with Raisman. To quote her statement from her unclothed Sports Illustrated shoot: “Women do not have to be modest to be respected.”

 

 

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Aly Raisman ‘still at a loss for words’ over gymnasts’ abuse
Mom ‘disgusted’ by dress code requiring teen girls to wear dresses or skirts ‘at all times’
University’s sexual harassment concert backfires by forcing female attendees to adhere to strict dress code

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