Gymnast Aly Raisman is a six-time Olympic medalist, author of a new memoir and now a passionate advocate for victims of abuse.
For TODAY's One Small Thing series, the 23-year-old opened up about finding her voice.
"I think it’s important to remember that everyone deserves to feel safe and be heard," Raisman told TODAY via email. "I’ve been inspired by all the brave survivors telling their stories."
In November, after coming forward with sexual abuse allegations involving Team USA doctor Larry Nassar, Raisman spoke out about victim shaming in a powerful message for survivors of abuse.
"You never know what someone is dealing with," she said. "It’s important to remember to be kind. Everyone is a survivor of something."
Raisman also shared her trick for staying positive.
"Surrounding yourself with positive people — my family and friends are my biggest support system," she said. "Their love, help and advice has gotten me to where I am today."
"We have to support each other — in person and on social media — make sure everyone feels supported and has a voice that’s being heard," she continued. "My mom told me it’s more important to be a good person than what place you are on the podium. Your character is what people will remember most."
As a spokesperson for Playtex, Raisman is hoping to encourage girls to stay active — even when struggling with body image.
"I think we all have days where we just can’t get out of our own head and we can put ourselves down," she said. "My advice is to focus on one thing that you like about yourself and how it makes you feel — strong, smart, confident."
Raisman hopes to inspire readers by sharing both positive and negative experiences in her book, "Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything."
"Sharing the hardest and best moments of my life isn’t easy, but I knew I couldn’t write a book about my journey without both the ups and downs," she said. "The hard times make us stronger and help us tackle the next challenge."
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