Olympic gymnast joins #MeToo movement

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WOODBURY -

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney joined the viral #MeToo campaign Wednesday – charging that she was once sexually assaulted by a team doctor.

The two-time Olympic medalist made a statement on Twitter about her experience with Dr. Larry Nassar, saying, "I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting."

The movement was started years ago by activist Tarana Burke and brought to light once again by actress Alyssa Milano following the fire storm of allegations against Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein.

"The fact that this #MeToo movement is empowering women to come forward and tell their stories to one another is really important," says Sara Kane, a discrimination and sexual harassment attorney in Garden City. 

Others argue that seeing a newsfeed full of people acknowledging abuse could trigger painful memories for some victims. Liz Osowiecki , an educator at the Safe Center in Bethpage, told News 12 it was "hard to come forward" with her own experiences. She says she sees the benefits to the movement, but she also wants to make sure that survivors know that their untold stories matter too. 

"If they can't write #MeToo, if they can't speak about this yet, it doesn't make their story any less valid or painful. Sometimes people can't come forward," says Osowieki.

The Safe Center’s 24 hour confidential hotline for domestic violence and sexual assault is 516-542-0404.

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