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U.S. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman encourages others to speak up about sexual assault

Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 18:08:34-04

Six-time gold medalist and activist Aly Raisman spoke in Mayfield Heights on Wednesday about the importance of speaking out about sexual assault. 

She headlined the National Council of Jewish Women of Cleveland's opening meeting.

Raisman made headlines when she came forward against Larry Nassar, the gymnastics doctor who sexually abused more than 150 women. 

"I didn't realize how many people would listen, and how many people would support," Raisman said. 

Part of her lecture at Landerhaven included speaking to students from the area, encouraging them to come forward if something does not feel right. 

“People like Aly are able to speak out, and they are inspiring our younger people. It’s not something that’s kept in the closet. It’s something that is out on the table. We are able to address it together," said Elaine Gilbert, the Co-Chair for the NCJW.  

In Ohio, one in five women will be raped in their lifetime according to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Of those women, less than one third will report it.

Sexual assault is an epidemic, and it's survivors like Aly keeping the conversation alive that are leading the change, said Sondra Miller, president of the center.

"It's been pushed under the shadows and not talked about for too long," Miller said. "As a country, we should start believing these survivors and fully investigate their stories."

If you need to reach out for support, call the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center at 216-619-6912 or contact them online