Over the past few weeks, Aly Raisman has dominated headlines as she continues to speak out about her experience with sexual abuse.
Last month, the two-time U.S Olympic gymnast made a powerful statement against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar during his sex abuse sentencing. Now, in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's latest project In Her Own Words, Aly is proud to call herself a survivor.
In Her Own Words is a platform where the voices, strengths and passions of the participating women can be expressed in their rawest form. Each woman was given complete artistic and creative control in order to share their truth with the world. For the project, the women had the freedom to choose words that resonated with them and used their naked bodies as a canvas to covey their message. Aly chose to display the word "survivor" prominently across her chest.
“I decided to be a part of the 'In Her Own Words' project because I find the concept empowering,” Aly told SI. “I believe that everyone is a survivor of something. Often times, we feel pressure to keep things in, and being a part of the social media age, we sometimes want to act like everything is perfect. I want to help change the conversation where we encourage people to trust themselves and use their voice. I encourage anyone out there to remember that you deserve to feel safe, everyone has a story, and everyone deserves to be heard.”
Aly's journey is far from over. She was featured on last week's PEOPLE Magazine cover and has been open about dedicating her life to protecting and supporting other sexual abuse victims. Through her valor, she has become an undeniable voice for change, telling the magazine that she "won't be silenced."
“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," Aly said. "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.”