If there’s a shred of good to come out of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal, it’s that women from all professions have felt empowered to speak out. Hence, the #MeToo movement.
For the sports world, it began—or rather, reentered the spotlight—when former gold-medal Olympian McKayla Maroney tweeted about being molested by a team doctor. New York Times sports reporter Juliet Macur wrote at length about Maroney’s courage in speaking out—and herself spoke out about instances of abuse.
Now, WNBA star Breanna Stewart, who plays forward for the Seattle Storm, has penned her own powerful #MeToo essay via the Players’ Tribune. Beginning as early as nine, Stewart writes that she “was molested for [two] years” by someone in her close family circle. While much of the abuse happened at night, Stewart writes that “He’d always find a way to be near me in public. It was subtle—he’d sit next to me at a table, or, when no one was watching, he’d try to touch my butt. Things only I would notice.”
Speaking of her sport at the time when the abuse was taking place, Stewart writes “basketball became a sort of safe space for me. But no space felt completely safe.”
Stewart then recounts how she told her parents of the abuse at age 11. They had her give a statement to the police—and the man was later arrested. And despite everything that had happened, she still went to basketball practice the night the man confessed.
What prompted her to go public after all these years? “I was recently reading McKayla Maroney’s personal account of sexual abuse—one of many powerful stories the #metoo campaign has inspired—and I felt … less alone,” she writes.