In one tweet, Simone Biles reminds the world to stop defining women by their trauma.
The greatest gymnast of all time refuses to be associated with terrible men.
U.S. Olympic hero Simone Biles just reminded us that she's in charge of her own destiny.
Just to avoid any confusion, Biles wants the world to know that her aspirations are not defined or determined by any experiences of her past.
She, and she alone, makes the calls for what path her career will take.
Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.
On April 27, The Daily Mail published an article with a rather questionable headline framing Biles' plans for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 within the context of Larry Nassar's very public sexual abuse case.
In early 2018, Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team physician, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women — including Biles — bravely stood up and exposed his years of criminal abuse.
Photo by Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images.
International Gymnast shared the story in a tweet that's since been deleted.
But Biles was not having it.
I am not to be labeled by Larry Nassars abuse. Nowhere in this video did I talk about it. Take this down. My sig… https://t.co/HdAiNDFjiR— Simone Biles (@Simone Biles) 1524872026
Biles made it clear that her sights were on the Tokyo Olympics long before Nassar's conviction.
Her ambitious nature isn't surprising, either.
The native Houstonian many refer to as "the best gymnast in the world" is the reigning world all-around champion. She earned four Olympic gold medals in the 2016 Olympics and has won the most medals in U.S. gymnastics history.
And those are just a few things on the 21-year-old's resume.
Biles is an honorary cheerleader with the Houston Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.
While Biles' tweets are a direct appeal to be recognized for her accomplishments and ambitions and not her abuser's behavior, she brings up an even larger point.
Women who experience sexual abuse or assault — whether Olympic champions, chefs, or domestic workers — deserve to be defined by their lives and their lives alone.
As more women and young people continue to speak out against former and current abusers, people finally seem to be listening. Powerful men are finally being brought to justice, manipulative bosses are losing their jobs, and people are slowly but surely starting to listen to women's stories and experiences.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images.
But as we listen, we must also remember that women exist outside of their trauma, too.
Women who have survived sexual abuse should be able to live their lives without the cloud of their abuser hanging over them — whether that life is on the balance beam or the basketball court, in the kitchen or the newsroom.
When we treat women as humans with dreams, goals, and aspirations that extend beyond their experiences with (and mistreatment by) men, we continue to push toward a society that sees women as fully whole and fleshed out beings.
Simone Biles is once again teaching us how to be the champion of our own lives: by defining it on our terms.