Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is hoping to aid survivors of sexual abuse as part of her new clothing line with Aerie.
The athlete is the latest star to join the forces with the brand, which promotes body positivity, and serve as a #AerieReal Role Model – joining the likes of Busy Philipps and Jameela Jamil.
For the venture, Raisman drew on her fight against sexual abuse, a crusade she began after coming forward to reveal she was one of over 100 members of the U.S. gymnastics team assaulted by doctor Larry Nassar. The 24-year-old maintains Nassar began abusing her when she was 15.
Fifteen per cent of proceeds will go towards her organisation Flip the Switch, which she launched as a means of raising awareness surrounding abuse within sport.
The athletic wear collection is designed to encourage “strength, wellness and mindful living”, according to a press release from the label, and includes leggings, sports bras, and T-shirts.
“I’m so grateful and appreciative (to Aerie) because (that 15 per cent) is going to help provide a lot of free training for adults out there,” Raisman tells Fashionista. “When an adult takes the course, they’re better able to understand the warning signs and red flags (of child sexual abuse), and they can save a child from going through that abuse, which is really, really amazing.”
For the star, helping women feel good about their bodies is an important step in lowering the risk of abuse.
“When you’re insecure about your body, it makes you more susceptible for an abuser to be able to groom you and take advantage of you,” she tells the publication.”When you’re confident in yourself and your body, I think you’re able to have more awareness and feel comfortable speaking up if something doesn’t feel right or if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, so to have Aerie spread the message about preventing child sexual abuse and also to be so incredibly body positive makes a big difference.
“I’m just grateful that Aerie is willing to not only have this conversation but to also be very supportive of it.”
Raisman is also thrilled to be part of Aerie’s self-acceptance campaign, revealing it has helped her build confidence.
“I think the fact that Aerie doesn’t retouch anything has been really empowering for me and helped with my confidence,” she says. “When you’re doing a photoshoot and you’re in a bra and underwear, you’re seeing yourself in all different angles, and that created a lot of awareness of how much time I spent worrying about how I look. I’d spend time worrying about really stupid things that don’t matter. As long as I feel healthy, I have energy and I’m happy, that’s all that really matters.”
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