Simone Biles shared that she was initially in denial about being sexually assaulted by USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar, but with the assistance of her mom, she was able to face her pain and begin healing. Biles and her mom, Nellie, shared what that healing process was like in the new Facebook Watch series Simone vs. Herself.
Biles, 24, was one of the hundreds of people that Nassar assaulted. But it took Biles some time to recognize that what she was experiencing was abuse, she explained in the new series.
“All those years, nobody really told us what sexual abuse was. So we didn’t feel like we were going through it or we were victims,” she explained. “I remember asking one of my friends, ‘Hey, if I’ve been touched here, have I been sexually assaulted?’ And I thought I was being dramatic at first.” But Biles said her friend confirmed that she had “absolutely” been assaulted.
Biles recalled her family asking her if anything had happened to her after news reports of Nassar’s abuse started coming out. But she would brush them off, saying that nothing happened to her and she didn’t want to talk about it.
“Talking to Simone about it, she was in denial. And she would be very angry when I would ask her anything,” her mom said. “I just gave her her space until she was ready to talk about it.”
Eventually, she was ready to recognize what happened. “I remember driving on the highway,” she said, “I just remember breaking down and calling my mom; she told me to pull over.” Her mom described her as “hysterical” that day. “She didn’t say anything; she just cried,” Nellie Biles said. “And we just cried together because I knew what it was she wanted to talk about. She didn’t have to say anything.”
Biles also talked about the effect the trauma had on her mental health. “I was super depressed, and I didn’t want to leave my room, and I didn’t want to go anywhere. I just shut everybody out,” she said.
“I remember telling my mom and my agent that I slept all the time, and it was because sleeping was better than offing myself. It was my way of escaping reality,” Biles explained. “Sleeping was the closest thing to death for me at that point, so I just slept all the time.”
Currently, Biles is continuing her gradual healing process. “With gymnasts, if you get injured, you’re like, ‘Okay, your heal time is four to six weeks,’” she said. But with something traumatic like this, it’s harder to process because there isn’t a defined healing time. “There’s no time limit or healing time for this, so you just take it day by day,” Biles said.
Watch the full Facebook Watch Simone Vs. Herself ‘What More Can I Say?’ episode below.