Keynote Speaker Aly Raisman Shares Powerful Story at Child Advocacy Ball

The Davis House Child Advocacy Center welcomed supporters back to Homestead Manor for its annual Button Ball, a night dedicated to raising funds for child abuse victims. The main event of the evening was a discussion between Davis House Executive Director Brent Hutchinson and keynote speaker Aly Raisman.

Raisman led the gold-medal-winning U.S. women's gymnastics teams in both 2012 and 2016. She is also the second-most decorated gymnast in American history. She has also been an outspoken and powerful representative for women going through any form of abuse.

Raisman explained what survivors of sexual abuse go through and how the road to recovery is not simple. Raisman and her Olympic gymnast teammates recently testified before Congress on the FBI's handling of the Larry Nassar abuse claims. Nassar was the former doctor for the USA Gymnastics team and is currently serving a multi-decade jail sentence.

Raisman said that trying to compose a statement that covered everything she wanted to convey during her testimony brought back feelings of anxiety, trauma, and nausea.

“I didn’t really know a lot of people that could relate to what I was going through. It wasn’t like anyone said to me, ‘Be careful, you haven’t healed on your own.’ It’s like an open wound, and you’re constantly going to be triggered,” she said.

With the support of her teammates and having a better sense of balance in her life, Raisman is healing.

“I have a very special relationship with my teammates that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere outside of my gymnastics teammates,” Raisman said. “We’ve been through the best of moments together but also the worst of moments together,” she continued.

Raisman has made it her mission to campaign for systemic changes in gymnastics, as well as the eradication of sexual abuse.

“It’s very hard to put into words but having the support of so many people was personally very helpful for me, because it’s such a hard thing for me to talk about, and it shouldn’t be,” said keynote speaker Aly Raisman. “Part of the reason why it’s so hard to talk about is because they’re so many people that go to great lengths to cover it up. You feel like you’re doing something wrong. It feels like people are against you, which is our case, it’s truly like that. There are people that are still covering it up, but to have the support of so many people who I know and don’t know gives me all my strength and courage.”

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