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aly-raisman-survivorAfter a horrific start to 2018, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is using her voice – and body – to speak out. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition showcases Aly in glam swimsuits on gorgeous beaches, but the 23-year-old gymnast chose to add bold, nude photos for a project titled “In Her Own Words“.

According to the magazine, the project was all Aly’s idea…

I would like to remind everyone that being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you . . . I hope that we can one day get to a point where everyone realizes that women do not have to be modest to be respected. We are free to draw confidence and happiness in our own way, and it is never for someone else to choose for us or to even judge us for that matter. For me, ‘In Her Own Words’ serves as a reminder that we are all humans, we are all battling something, and it is OK to not be OK. We are not alone and we need each other.”

As a publicly known victim of sexual abuse, Raisman made a statement in court only weeks ago during the trial of abuser – and former Team USA doctor – Larry Nassar. Her most remembered words to him include “you are nothing”.

In her Sports Illustrated spread, Aly clearly states that as women we are much more than nothing, by painting words such as “Survivor”, “Trust Yourself”, “Live 4 You” and “Women Don’t Have to be Modest to be Respected” across her body before being photographed.

Raisman states: “For me, ‘In Her Own Words’ serves as a reminder that we are all humans, we are all battling something, and it is OK to not be OK. We are not alone and we need each other.Aly joins the ranks of other respected women like Elle Macpherson, Heidi Klum, Beyonce, Ashley Graham and Chrissy Teigen who have also graced the pages of this magazine. Yet, her statement is as modern as it gets. With 2018 being the year of women’s rights, Aly is sure to raise controversy and give power with this photography project.

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