Simone Biles, Sexual Abuse, and Mental Health

I’m not into sports, don’t pay any attention to the summer Olympics, but during the past weeks, my curiosity has been roused as I kept hearing some very strong opinions, both pro and con, for a young Olympic gymnast named Simone Biles. I kept meaning to further investigate, but other topics have kept me busy. So, I was pleased to see Brendan’s post today about Ms. Biles, a positive view, thankfully. Thank you, Brendan!

Blind Injustice

Simone Biles. Agência Brasil Fotografias, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Content warnings: Sexual abuse, suicide

One of the major stories of the recently concluded Summer Olympics was how decorated American gymnast Simone Biles was ultimately not involved in several of the events that she qualified for as a result of her struggles with mental health. Reaction to this seemed a bit split: many praised her for prioritizing her mental health, while some critics thought of her as a quitter.

Just to clarify, I fall into the former category, not the latter. I think Simone Biles did the right thing in prioritizing her mental health, even if it meant missing some major events this Olympics. To do otherwise would’ve been a danger to her mental and her physical health, which is more important than any Olympic medal.

Yet, at the same time, it seems like there’s often been…

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26 thoughts on “Simone Biles, Sexual Abuse, and Mental Health

  1. Simone Biles has won many medals representing her Country despite the personal horrors she endured. She is no quitter for deciding her own fragile health takes priority over a performance at the games. It takes a deal of maturity to take a decision like this. If she never comes back and performs again she’s already done enough that she deserves no criticism. A lapse of concentration while her mental health is affected could cripple her. People who can’t see this lack any empathy towards someone battling her demons.

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    • Until recently, I had never heard of Ms. Biles, but from what I’ve learned, she is a remarkable young woman, a remarkable athlete. Those who would criticize, perhaps should take a look in their own closets and see what demons are hiding there. I agree with you … anybody who lacks the compassion and empathy toward her as she fights her battles doesn’t deserve a glance in my book.

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  2. Thanks for reblogging this. It is hard to anoint someone the Greatest of All Time, while still performing. She keeps pushing the envelope to be even better and put a lot of pressure on herself, in a sport that can easily injure her. Once she lost her confidence, it impacted everything. Keith

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    • Thanks to Brendan for helping me to understand the situation. Yes, she seems like a fantastic athlete and a human … somebody vulnerable, as we all are, and not afraid to admit to her vulnerabilities. I hope she can find peace … that’s about all any of us can ask for these days.

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  3. Goal-driven people hate when others do not live up to their expectations, especially when they are not meeting their own. They think everyone is perfect. They have no hearts.

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    • I might even go so far as to say these “goal driven“ individuals who saw her as a quitter are really the ones who are perpetuating their own mental health issues upon everyone else and just being unconscious of it. Lol. Innoway, it’s like the anti-VAXers: as a human group, it is the children who want to assert their individuality as if everyone has a right to their own preferences and opinions, disregarding their affect on others. It is adults who consider others.

      It is the adults that keep the human species going. And some people who are grown-up are not necessarily adults. 😆

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  4. Thanks Jill for sharing this! I have the utmost respect for her and pray that she can get the help she needs. As a parent of a child who has been through sexual abuse it is VERY debilitating and it does take time to recover from and is important that you take the time to heal. Simone is in no way a Quitter, she is so very wise and mature to be dealing with the things that really matter! ❤

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