The floodgates have opened.
Joining in on the national conversation, famous long distance swimmer Diana Nyad has come forward with her own experience of being sexually assaulted by her swim coach when she was 14 years old back in 1964.
In an oped for the New York Times, the now-68-year-old did not name her abuser when describing the molestation that went on for several years. The respected coach has since passed away.
Related: Film Legend Gina Lollobrigida Reveals Her Own Sexual Assault 70 Years Later
Of the initial incident, Nyad remembered waking up to find the coach on top of her while she napping. She wrote:
“He yanked my suit down. He grabbed at and drooled onto my breasts. He hyperventilated and moaned. I didn’t breathe for perhaps two full minutes, my body locked in an impenetrable flex. My arms trembled, pinned to my sides. He pleaded with me to open my legs, but they were pressed hard together. If breath gives us force, that day I could feel the strength in my body from the polar opposite — from not breathing. He ejaculated on my stomach, my athletic torso I was so proud of now suddenly violated with this strange and foul stuff. As he slinked out of the room, I gasped for air, as if I had just been held underwater for those two minutes. I vomited onto the floor.”
Another instance involved him pinning her down in his school office’s bathroom against a mattress in the shower stall.
Unfortunately, this secret behavior went on for years as Nyad sank into depression:
“He assured me that what we shared was something special, that my life would collapse if anybody else knew, that this was magic between us. Our special secret.”
When she was 21, she got the courage to confide in her best friend — who ended up being a victim at the same hands, too:
“My friend cried with me, hugged me, took a long pause and said, ‘Well, Diana, hold on to your hat because the same thing happened to me.’ The same coach. The precise same words. The mattress in the office shower stall. The same covert manipulation. The same special secret. And we soon learned that it wasn’t just the two of us. It never is.”
After reporting their cases to the school principal, the coach was fired — only to be hired at a University in the next town over.
Nyad goes on to say she was inspired to share her full account by the many courageous women to do so through the #MeToo movement:
“Those who have found a platform to speak, and to be heard, within recent weeks have most likely forged unexpected connections as a result. Whenever I mention my case in front of a live audience, invariably women come up to me afterward and let me know that they too are survivors. They immediately command my full attention with a particularly steady gaze and they say, “The same thing happened to me — my stepfather.” Or “I’m a survivor, too.” Then we hug, long and hard. And we often find tears for each other. We connect. It’s our version of #MeToo.”
“Tell your story. Let us never again be silenced.”
Read her powerful essay HERE.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN.]