September 15, 2021

Durbin Commends Gymnasts for Powerful Testimony at Judiciary Committee Hearing on FBI's Mishandling of Nassar Abuse Case

WASHINGTON – During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Dereliction of Duty: Examining the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation,” U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, commended elite gymnastic athletes Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman for their powerful testimony and willingness to share their stories of abuse by Larry Nassar. Durbin promised that the Senate Judiciary Committee would seek to hold the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice (DOJ), and law enforcement accountable for their abdication of responsibility and failure to investigate the Nassar case. 

“I can’t remember compelling testimony like we’ve heard this morning, ever before. Because you had the courage to come up and tell the world what happened to you. It is heartbreaking to think what you’ve been through. I thank you for being here. We have a job to do and we know it. It begins with this hearing. The accountability of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and all of law enforcement when it comes to abuse cases such as those you have endured personally,” said Durbin. 

Durbin then asked the athletes to share what they would tell other victims and survivors of sexual abuse who may be struggling with the decision to speak out.  

Aly Raisman said, “The first thing that I would want to say to anybody that's watching this that's suffering in silence or has been through something really traumatic is that I support them. I believe them. And just be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself. Know that I'm struggling too. I'm still navigating how to heal from this. And healing is a roller coaster. There's some days I feel better. There are some days I feel like I'm taking a bunch of steps backwards and that's okay. We're all human. We're all doing the best that we can. I would encourage whoever is out there that's listening to tell someone whenever they feel comfortable and it's so important to have a good support system and a community around you. And if you're someone out there that doesn't have a good support system, that's okay. Sometimes it can take some time to find a good support system. So, I encourage you to not give up until you find that support that you deserve and just remember that I believe you. I support you. You are not alone and I encourage you to ask for help.”

McKayla Maroney said, “I would just want to say they need to know their abuse is enough. I think for so long, all of us questioned, just because somebody else wasn't fully validating us, that we doubted what happened to us. That is always going to make the healing process take longer. I think the second that I gave that to myself is when I really began to heal and when I really began to get my voice back. And that took a long time and I think to reach out to other survivors and speak to them and hear their stories is what continues to help me heal and hearing all these girls speak is really what continues to make me want to be here today and help others.”

Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations. 

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