In a post on Instagram, Douglas apologized for suggesting that “dressing in a provocative way entices the wrong crowd,” which was criticized on social media as victim-shaming. She then alluded to her own experience:
“I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. It would be like saying that because the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar,” Douglas wrote. “I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful.”
Douglas’s statement comes after former teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney came forward to say they were abused by Nassar. The former team doctor is currently awaiting sentencing for child-pornography charges and faces multiple counts of criminal sexual misconduct.
Read her full statement below:
“First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way that I did to a comment that one of my teammates posted. I know some of you may take what I am about to say as insincere, but I still wanted to provide context.
The day before I commented, I was at an event where hundreds of children and young adults came to spend an evening with me. It’s very humbling when many people look up to you as an example. I take my job as a role model very seriously and i always want to do my best to represent all the best qualities that a role model should embody. I admit there are times that I fall short.
I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. It would be like saying that because the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar. I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.
I understand that many of you didn’t know what I was dealing with, but it is important to me that you at least know this. I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape or form! I will also never support attacking or bullying anyone on social media or anywhere else.
Please forgive me for not being more responsible with how I handled the situation. To every other individual that commented to or about me hatefully, I apologize that I let you down too. I will never stop promoting unity, positivity, strength, being courageous and doing good instead of evil. I have learned from this and I’m determined to be even better.
All my love,