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    Aly Raisman to People magazine: ‘I won’t be silenced’

    Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman gave her victim impact statement in Lansing, Mich., during the fourth day of sentencing for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who pled guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault.
    Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP, File
    Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman gave her victim impact statement in Lansing, Mich., during the fourth day of sentencing for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who pled guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault.

    Aly Raisman is on the cover of People magazine this week, and she has a message: She will not be silenced.

    Raisman’s story is teased on the cover of the magazine with the headline, “Taking Back My Life.” The issue is set to hit newsstands Friday.

    Raisman talked to the publication about what it was like to deliver her powerful statement during the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar last month.

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    “I felt very strong,” the six-time Olympic medalist and Needham native told People. “I felt like I had so much I wanted to say.”

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    Raisman,23, first said she was abused by Nassar in an interview with “60 Minutes” in November and detailed her experience in her book, “Fierce.” In her victim impact statement at Nassar’s hearing, Raisman said that Nassar had perpetuated the “worst epidemic of sexual abuse in the history of sports.”

    “You never really want to say, ‘I was sexually abused,’ ” Raisman told People, “but you have to process it. You can’t push it aside forever, which is what I did for a long time. I’m still processing it and coping with it.”

    Raisman also told People that she has been privately counseling fellow victims of Nassar.

    “Those are difficult phone calls,” Raisman said. “I’ve been on the phone with some of the girls for hours, trying to calm them down and help them understand how this could have happened, even though I can’t understand it myself. I tell them, ‘I know it’s hard to imagine right now, but you’re going to be okay. You’re going to get through this. We’re going to make change together.’ ”

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    Raisman told People that she’s still coming to terms with the abuse, but speaking out about it and advocating for change has helped.

    “I’m just starting to realize how strong I am,” she said, “and I won’t be silenced.” (Kevin Slane, Boston.com)