Simone Biles Wants Justice for Sexual Abuse Survivors, Not Birthday Wishes
Take note, USA Gymnastics.
Over the weekend, Simone Biles's social media accounts were flooded with birthday wishes as the gymnast turned 23, but there was one tribute she didn't appreciate coming across her feed.
Sharing a video of her impressive moves on the mat, USA Gymnastics took to Twitter to wish Biles a happy birthday. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most decorated gymnast of all time, @simonebiles! We know you will only continue to amaze us and make history," the organization wrote.
It didn't take long before Biles fired back with a very specific request. "How about you amaze me and do the right thing… have an independent investigation," she said in reference to the Larry Nassar case. Nassar — the former USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually abused hundreds of its gymnasts, including Biles — is serving a life sentence for his actions, but the organization itself only offered a settlement to survivors. According to Entertainment Tonight, $215 million was divided among the 517 athletes who sued USAG for not protecting them.
This isn't the first time Simone has criticized USAG's lack of accountability. In February, unsatisfied with the settlement, she tweeted: “Still want answers from USAG and USOPC. Wish they BOTH wanted an independent investigation as much as the survivors & I do. Anxiety high. Hard not to think about everything that I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT!!!”
At the height of the #MeToo movement in 2018, Simone bravely shared her story on social media. "I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper," she began. "There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault."
“For too long I've asked myself, ‘Was I took naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”