Aly Raisman says she was criticized for posing nude in ‘Sports Illustrated’

Scott Gleeson

 |  USA TODAY Sports

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman said she has been labeled hypocritical for posing nude in Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit edition because she is a sexual-abuse survivor. 

“I actually had somebody say something to me a couple months ago saying, ‘I don’t understand how you can complain that you were molested because you participated in Sports Illustrated‘s (Swimsuit magazine)’” Raisman told People in a story published Thursday. 

Raisman testified alongside more than 100 women last month about the sexual abuse she experienced by former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven sexual assault charges in Ingham County, Mich. She told the magazine that posing nude didn’t diminish her message of bravery and empowerment — but rather, it punctuated it. 

“Women do not have to be modest to be respected,” Raisman said. “You can be sexy, you can be wearing a sexy bikini, you can still be smart, powerful, have a voice. You can still be advocating for change, you can still be a good person, you can still be respected.”

MORE: USOC needs to answer for its failings in abuse scandals, in gymnastics and other sports

Raisman, who noted she grew up feeling “ashamed” for showing her body, said part of the problem with society is the notion that how a woman presents herself is the reason behind a heinous crime. 

“I can’t even tell you how many people have told me that, when they were raped, they were asked, what were you wearing? It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, it’s never, ever OK,” Raisman told People

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