Aly Raisman sues U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for lack of action against Nassar

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman files lawsuit over Larry Nassar abuse.
Image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for DirecTV

Aly Raisman, Olympic gold medalist and role model empowering women to speak out against harassment, is suing the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for lack of action taken against former team physician Larry Nassar.

After Raisman and more than 100 women spoke out and filed civil actions against Nassar, saying he had continually sexually assaulted them during treatment sessions over the years, he was sentenced to 40-to-175 years in prison for seven charges and 40-to-125 years for three additional charges. But in the months leading up to Nassar’s sentencing, Raisman called out the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for not doing more to stop the physician from harming people.

The gymnast is now suing the two organizations, alleging they should have taken more action to prevent the abuse and conducted a thorough investigation, NBC News reported.

The lawsuit, filed in California, alleges that both U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics had knowledge of Nassar’s history of past sexual abuse against minors but let the mandatory treatment of her and many other young women take place for years.

Despite the organizations being notified of his behavior, Raisman said Nassar was never punished and no one with the direct power to do so intervened in the situation. In fact, the lawsuit claims that when Maggie Nichols, a national team member, reported the abuse to USA Gymnastics in 2015, the organization took more than a month to alert the FBI. The document also claims that USA Gymnastics did not alert Michigan State University, where Nassar was also practicing medicine, of the situation at the time.

“After all this time, they remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented,” Raisman said in a statement to NBC News. “I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.”

Raisman also said she still experiences depression, anxiety, and fear to this day as a result of Nassar’s abuse.

The lawsuit comes weeks after the USA Gymnastics board resigned amid the scandal. U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun’s resignation was also announced on Feb. 28, citing health issues, and the committee is launching a new set of guidelines to ensure athletes are protected in the future.

In addition to the two sentences for sexual assault charges, Nassar was also sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes. Ultimately, Nassar got what amounts to a life sentence. As part of a plea deal, Nassar agreed to listen to victim impact statements from women and girls who reported abuse. More than 250 told their stories during sentencing hearings in two Michigan counties.

You can read Raisman’s full lawsuit against the USOC and USA Gymnastics here.

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A guide to achieving your 2018 self-care resolutions

Admiring this gorgeous artwork can also be a form of self-care.
Image: mashable/vicky leta

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After an October week from hell — when allegations against Harvey Weinstein first began to unravel, Donald Trump threatened to take aid away from Puerto Rico, women boycotted Twitter, and historic wildfires destroyed California — I splurged on a large Blue Raspberry Icee and sat alone in a 12:15 p.m. Saturday showing of Marshall. I turned my phone all the way off, and over the course of the next two hours I ugly cried in the dark.

Afterwards, I drove to a bookstore and spent $82.47. I went home, applied a face mask and collapsed onto my bed, escaping into the pages of one of my new books for hours. I met my friend for dinner, cherished every single bite of a cheeseburger, rushed back to my pillow, and fell asleep before watching re-runs of The Mindy Project.

This was my own personal form of self-care.

For so many, self-care has been the unsung savior of 2017. You’ve probably heard the term thrown around daily, but learning exactly what it means and why it’s so essential will help to better practice it in the new year.

Am I doing this thing right?

Self-care methods — personalized rituals that allow people to take a step back from this messy world to prioritize their well-being and preserve their mental health — differ for each individual and in each scenario, so there’s really no right or wrong.

For Hillary Clinton self-care could mean anything from frantic closet cleaning, long walks in the woods, and playing with her dogs, to yoga or sitting down to enjoy a glass of wine. For Michael Phelps, who’s conquered the pressures of Olympic competition but has struggled with depression and anxiety over the years, it’s working out or heading to the golf course. The only constant is that methods of self-care must benefit and focus on you.

“A lot of times people will say ‘I spend time with my kids,’ which is great and meaningful but that’s still taking care of somebody else,” said Monnica Williams, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and associate professor at University of Connecticut’s Department of Psychological Sciences. “When you self-care it’s really about you recharging.”

Self-care isn’t selfish

Some people abstain from self-care for fear that their behavior would come across as selfish. They simply can’t resist the urge to put other people first.

According to a 2017 “Women’s Wellness Report” from Everyday Health, which studied 3,000 women from ages 25 to 65 in the U.S., 76 percent of women said they were were more likely to put their own personal needs after someone else’s. However, more than half of the participants said that taking time for themselves was the greatest factor in achieving wellness. (Disclosure: Mashable and Everyday Health are owned by the same company, Ziff Davis.) 

“You can’t be the best you in any other contexts if you’re not taking care of yourself.”

“It’s essential for your mental health and your physical health,” Williams said, noting that self-care is anything but selfish. “You can’t be the best you in any other contexts if you’re not taking care of yourself.”

“I heard someone say that it’s like putting on your own oxygen mask in an airplane emergency before putting one on a child,” added Crystal Park, another professor at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Psychological Sciences. 

“The healthier and more resilient we are, the more effective we can be in our lives.”

Heading into 2018 with some solid self-care guidelines will help you better manage your stress and survive whatever challenges are in store, so here are a few to keep in mind.

Don’t be afraid to take a mental health day

Your mental health is important, but it’s also extremely easy to ignore. When your job gets too overwhelming or events in your personal life prevent or distract you from doing your best work in the office it’s time to take a step back.

For inspiration, look no further than one of 2017’s viral personal tales: the story of Olark CEO Ben Congleton advocating for his employee after learning she’d taken time off for mental health reasons.

After Congleton’s understanding email sparked discussion about mental health in the workplace, he wrote a post on Medium further emphasizing the need to normalize it.

When you are at work, take additional steps to make your environment a place of comfort. Personalize your desk with a plant, a framed photo of something that makes you smile, or set the mood with a tiny lamp. 

And every so often, book a conference room for lunch with your coworkers to share pizza and a cake you buy for the sole reason of craving cake. Work will still be there when your lunch break ends, but taking time to clear your head is crucial.

Give social media and screens a rest

Social media usage often starts with the intention of getting caught up on current events and quickly spirals into a black hole of negativity.

“So many people are plugged in and instantly alerted to everything that is happening in the news in ways that weren’t possible 10 years ago,” said Dr. Carolyn Mazure, director of Women’s Health Research at Yale.

While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been proven to take a toll on self-esteem and mental health, social media isn’t all bad.

Here are a few ways to make online communities safer spaces for you:

  • Follow encouraging accounts like Janelle Silver‘s, who promotes her self-care-themed Etsy store.

  • Unfollow people on Facebook. (This helps you to remain friends with them but hides their posts from your timeline.)

  • Turn off push notifications.

  • Use Twitter’s mute feature to shield yourself from triggering words.

Self-Care isn’t selfish 💖

A post shared by Heart + Hands Store (@janellesilver) on

Transform your cell phone into a self-care hub 

While it’s healthy to disconnect from technology every so often, when you do have your phone by your side these tips can help make the experience more enjoyable.

  • Make use of your Do Not Disturb function.

  • Free up some storage space by parting with old text messages you have no intention of ever revisiting, deleting unused apps and contacts, and loading all photos and videos onto your laptop so you’re left with an empty album.

  • Download self-care apps related to deep breathing, meditation, list-making, and maybe even a relaxing game or two, likeAnimal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

  • Create empowering or soothing playlists so you can easily listen to mood-lifting music on-the-go.

Treat Yo Self, but treat others, too

No matter how small, make a daily attempt to treat yourself to an experience or a purchase that’ll brighten your mood.

Get a pedicure or massage, take a hot bath, go for a walk around the block, go out with friends, or cancel plans to stay in on a Friday night to recharge and binge-watch mindless television, if that’s what you need.

And while being good to oneself is key, Park noted “balance is important” in self-care, and making an effort to give back to others often helps people feel better. Consider volunteering, or clean out your closets and drawers to donate unwanted items to charity.

Put positivity on display

One form of self-care can be as simple as not being so hard on yourself all the time. It sounds simple, but it can be a serious challenge at times. Visual reminders can help.

When in doubt, turn to this handy self-care printable, titled “Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay.” The checklist presents 16 questions for you to answer and serves as a helpful reminder to stay hydrated, shower, participate in physical activity, and be kind to yourself.

Keep a copy of the printout in your bag for comfort or hang it somewhere you know you’ll see it.  (Mashable HQ has one on the wall of the women’s restroom.)

Affirmations are another great way to be kind to yourself and can serve as help. Glancing at inspirational quotes, uplifting doodles, or a few words of positivity can lift your spirits. The Mashable women’s restroom also has a few on display. (Very good restroom.)

Image: nicole gallucci/mashable

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Though the term self-care sounds like an isolated practice, it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re someone who struggles to commit to individual self-care routines, or simply takes enjoyment from the company of others, spending time with and opening up to a friend, loved one, therapist, or even reaching out to the Crisis Text Line could be extremely beneficial.

Just know that you’re not alone in your stress and professionals are out there to help. 

“Certainly, if possible, try to see a stressful situation as an opportunity to grow, and consider the power of reorienting how you confront a stressful situation when it arrives,” Mazure said.

“Instead of thinking, ‘Oh no, not again,’ perhaps a good self-care perspective might be, ‘I’ve seen stress before. I’ve got this.'”

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources. 

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6 weird things your body doesand why

Future site of some prune fingers
Image: Getty Images

Bodies are weirdlet’s just get that fact out of the way.

Whether they’re giving life, sweating, or just existing, there are more intricacies about the human body than meets the eye. With so many things going on that we’ve accepted as a common occurrence, have you ever stopped to think about why it was happening? We’ve rounded up common and weird ways some bodies reacts under certain circumstances.

1. Fingers turning into prunes

Things get wet when they’re slippery, so your body’s way of adapting to long periods of time under water is turning your finger pads into little prune pads. According to the Scientific American, that weird prune-ness is “optimized for providing a drainage network that improved grip.”

2. Brain freeze

Slurping back your milkshake has it’s consequences. If you want to get down to the nitty gritty of it, Forbes reports that what is happening is your “blood vessels near the back of your throat first rapidly constrict from the coldness and then dilate when the bloodvesselsbecome warmer again.” These pull tissue and trigger a nerve that cause the headache. It’s basically a way for your body of saying “slow down.” Milkshakes are always worth a brain freeze, though.

3. Shivers

Shivering is the body’s way of keeping warm. By expending energy with small movements, the body is working to raise temperature back up to a healthy 98.6F. Pretty simple, and pretty neat.

4. Get taller in space

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s time in space illuminated a variety of information on what space does to the bodyincluding height, thanks to spinal column disks. “On Earth, the disks are slightly compressed due to gravity. In space, that compression is no longer present causing the disks to expand,” CNBC reported. “The result: the spine lengthens, and the astronaut is taller.” Badabing, badaboom.

5. “Feeling” weather changes

While based on majority anecdotal evidence, there might be a bit of truth to the claims that some people can “feel” a storm coming because of achy knees. Cold weather can cause nerve endings in tissues around joints to be feel some sort of “tightness” or “stiffness,” the Weather Channel wrote.

6. Goosebumps

There’s a reason for them, though it’s not that useful of one. Because humans don’t have much body hair, the “contraction of miniature muscles that are attached to each hair” that occurs when we get goosebumps aren’t as useful for insulation as they are with animals, according to Scientific American. So while we get bumps in the cold, they don’t help us stay warm at all unfortunately. As for the times you’re emotional and get goosebumps, blame that on adrenalinealso released when we’re cold.

And now you know! Go forth, and watch weird things happen to your body.

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Trump casually pre-games climate announcement with jazz band

While the world anxiously waited to hear whether or not President Trump would pull out of the Paris Agreement, a jazz band outside the White House kept things chill AF.

After much anticipation, Trump announced on Twitter that he would be making a statement about the country’s future with the major climate agreement on Thursday in the White House Rose Garden.

And what better way to pregame that very important speech than with a nice tasteful jazz performance, am I right??!

Before Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, which left the U.S. with only two other countries Nicaragua and Syria who also rejected the agreement, many business leaders, celebrities, and scientists publicly warned against the decision.

But hey, Trump knows that some nice, smooth jazz music can solve any problem.

As people waited for the president (who was more than 30 minutes late) to take the stage, the image of what appears to be the United States Marine Band performing jazz in the Rose Garden was all they had to mock.

Some people passed the time by thinking up some climate-friendly requests for the band to play! Fun!

In fact, with this romantic setting, some might even say Trump’s monumental climate announcement felt a bit like an episode of The Bachelor …

Though this random jazz band may seem a bit odd, Trump is certainly no stranger to oddly timed celebratory gestures. We learned this after the House Republicans voted on a health care repeal bill and definitely did not enjoy a cart full of beer.

Enjoy that Rose Garden while you can, Trump!

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Facebook and The Trevor Project hope to help prevent LGBTQ youth suicides

Facebook has been working to make users feel safer on the platform for years, and in its latest effort to enhance the online community, the social media platform partnered with The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

On Tuesday in the middle of Mental Health Awareness month Facebook announced that users will be able to connect with mental health resourcesfromThe Trevor Project right from their direct messages. The project rolls out over the next few months.

According to The Trevor Project’s website, the rate of suicide attempts is “four times greater for LGB youth and two times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth,” so it’s clear how helpful access to a supportive chat bot could be. And though The Trevor Project is aimed at helping suicide prevention in young people, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 40 percent of transgender adult respondents reportedly made a suicide attempt during their lives, so Facebook users of all ages could certainly benefit from the helpful resource.

The messenger crisis support will also expand awareness to other areas of the mental heath community with the help of participating organizations likeCrisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The social media site recently received a great deal of backlash surrounding the spread of live-streamed suicide videos and earlier this month after a violent video of a Cleveland man shooting and killing a 74-year-old man was posted to the site founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted more human intervention is necessary on the site to ensure the safety of users.

The site also collaborated with mental health organizations back in 2016 to launch tools and resources aimed at supporting the mental health community. Users now have easily accessible support groups along with the ability to report concerning posts related to self-injury or suicide directly to Facebook.

Back in March the site was even testing a pattern recognition system that would use AI to identify posts that include certain keywords pertaining to suicidal thoughts.

Studies have shown that excessive social media us could increase levels of depression, so the more resources the better.

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

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The Queen is 91 and to mark it the Royal Family are tweeting lovely old photos

Image: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Turning 91 years old is certainly something to be celebrated no matter who you are.

Queen Elizabeth II is 91 today and to mark the occasion, the Royal Family is tweeting black and white photographs of Elizabeth at special moments in her life.

If you visit the Royal Family’s official Twitter account today you’ll be showered with animated balloons in celebration of her big day.

One of the photos the Royal Family have shared shows the Queen at the tender age of one month old at her christening, with her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother).

A photo of Princess Elizabeth on her 21st birthday was also shared via the Royal Family’s official Twitter account.

@ClarenceHouse the official Twitter account for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall shared a touching photo of the Queen in 1952 with a 4-year-old Prince Charles.

The Royal Family also shared a photo of the Queen on the phone, pointing out that she was born on the same year as the first ever transatlantic phone call.

@KensingtonRoyal the official Twitter account for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry also tweeted a photo of the Queen and Prince Philip in an open top car, with the younger generation of royals in a car behind her.

Happy birthday Your Majesty!

WATCH: Lady Gaga FaceTimed with Prince William to discuss a very important issue

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