Two-time Olympic-gymnast-turned-activist Aly Raisman became an Aerie Role Model last year. To mark her induction into a group of influential women — Yara Shahidi, Rachel Platten, and Iskra Lawrence — she created an iconic swimsuit with the word "survivor" across the chest. Proceeds from the sale of this one-piece went to Darkness to Light, a nonprofit with a mission to train adults on preventing, recognizing, and reacting responsibly to child sexual abuse. Today, Aly launched a new Aerie activewear capsule collection that once again supports Darkness to Light because, she told POPSUGAR, she truly supports its efforts.
Aerie will donate up to $75,000 of proceeds to Darkness to Light to help finance its Flip the Switch campaign, a free two-hour course that trains adults in youth sports on child sexual abuse prevention. "I hope one day we get to a point where no adult is allowed to step foot in any sporting event unless they've been educated on how to prevent child sexual abuse or really any kind of abuse whether it's emotional, physical, verbal, anything," Aly told POPSUGAR ahead of the Aerie launch.
The 24-year-old has been outspoken about this pressing issue ever since she came forward about her own past abuse from former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar. She and more than 150 others, many of whom were treated by Nassar as young gymnasts, gave victim impact statements at a seven-day hearing in January 2018. Nassar was then sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. Aly told us that she believes in Darkness to Light's cause so much that she signs every single completed training certificate.
The Aerie x Aly Raisman collection features nine pieces — sports bras and bralettes, leggings, and tank tops — many of which are emblazoned with empowering phrases including "unapologetically me," "unstoppable," "trust yourself," and more. "I think as women, we always feel so much pressure to apologize even if we didn't do anything wrong," Aly said. This is something she admits she's still working on. "Trust yourself" goes along with being unapologetic, she explained, meaning you should "try to speak your truth."
When asked how exactly she speaks her truth, Aly was quick to say she isn't perfect and there are some times where she catches herself feeling nervous to speak up. When it comes to advocating for more child sexual abuse prevention and education, especially as it pertains to USA Gymnastics and its investigation into the hundreds of survivors who accused Nassar of abuse, "that's so much bigger than me, where I kind of feel this responsibility to do something bigger than myself. But when I'm speaking up privately about something for myself, it's harder to do that. And I'm learning to find that balance."
Aly wants people wearing her line to feel "powerful and confident and strong and really just a lot of self-love from within." Everyone, she pointed out, is battling something. "Everyone knows what it feels like to go through a hard time. So, I just want them to know that they're going to get through it, and there's a light at the end of the tunnel." Ahead, check out a sneak peak of the Aerie x Aly Raisman capsule collection, ranging in prices from $25 to $50. You can find these empowering pieces at select Aerie stores and ae.com starting today until inventory runs out. You'll definitely want to.
If you are interested in completing a training through Darkness to Light, head over to d2l.org/flip-the-switch.