Aly Raisman is on a mission to end child sex abuse, and Massachusetts' own Eastern Bank is on board to help her.
At a celebration for its 200th anniversary, Eastern Bank announced Raisman, the Olympic gold-winning gymnast from Needham, would newest member of the company's philanthropic organizations "Partners For Good."
Raisman joined former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and former Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center Tuesday night to greet the nearly 2,000 Eastern employees who came out for the nighttime celebration that ended with fireworks over Boston Harbor.
While the combined star-power of three iconic local athletes is good for the bank, the athletes themselves say they are proud to represent an organization that gives to charity. Eastern announced its newest "Advancing Women" campaign, which the bank says will provide $1.8 million in donations to organizations focused on issues facing women and girls.
Raisman, who noted that she is "very picky" about which companies she will work with, said Eastern Bank has supported her efforts with "Darkness to Light," a Charleston-based nonprofit that works to prevent child sex abuse.
"I'm trying to end sexual abuse," Raisman said Tuesday night. "It's not easy to talk about such private things...but I've been just so appreciative of all the support."
Raisman was one of hundreds of young girls who accused disgraced USA Gymnastics Coach Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. She delivered a powerful impact statement during Nassar's trial in which she warned the public that Nassar's sentence should "strike fear" in any others like him. Raisman and her fellow survivors -- whom she calls "sister survivors" -- won this year's ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
"We stand for so many people out there, for millions of people around the world who are also abused," Raisman said on Tuesday. "People that don't feel heard, just like myself and my sister survivors, We were not heard for a long time."
She added that she hopes the media will cover more than Olympians or celebrities, but anyone suffering from sexual abuse. Raisman also voiced support for the movement of women opening up about their experiences of sexual assault and harassment.
"I'm very proud of where our society is going. I think the me too movement is very important and very needed," Raisman said, though she noted, "I think we're nowhere where we have to be, but I think we're in the right direction."
Source: Kristin LaFratta | Masslive.com