Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is absolutely fierce — and that’s all the more apparent in her recent nude photo shoot for Sports Illustrated. It’s not the first time she’s posed nude for a magazine (she did so for ESPN in 2015), but this time, it came with a powerful statement.
Raisman posed with the words “fierce” and “women do not have to be modest to be respected” painted on her body as part of the the “In Her Own Words” campaign.
The 23-year-old recently testified against Larry Nassar as one of the many gymnasts he abused over his years as a US Olympic team doctor for the women’s gymnastics section, where he molested and assaulted hundreds of underage girls. In an interview with the magazine, Raisman explained why she wanted to do the photo shoot this way:
I would like to remind everyone that being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you. I hope that we can one day get to a point where everyone realizes that women do not have to be modest to be respected. We are free to draw confidence and happiness in our own way, and it is never for someone else to choose for us or to even judge us for that matter. For me, ‘In Her Own Words’ serves as a reminder that we are all humans, we are all battling something, and it is OK to not be OK. We are not alone and we need each other.
Coming out as a survivor is immensely difficult — a task that shouldn’t be forced or asked of anyone, so it’s incredible that Raisman is speaking up. Her influence reaches so many young girls and women everywhere, showing that abuse can happen to anyone — and is shockingly widespread.
Here’s the photo below:
And don’t forget to check out these other photos from the shoot: