Champion gymnast and Darkness to Light partner Aly Raisman will premiere a three-hour documentary special, Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light, on September 24 at 8p/7c on Lifetime.
This special reveals the tumultuous journey to healing from the perspective of sexual abuse survivors, following the three-time Olympic gold medalist as she advocates for survivors while sharing personal accounts and coping strategies that have helped on her own journey of healing.
Raisman meets with individuals who have suffered abuse, revealing the trauma that lasts from childhood to adulthood, and the triggers that affect them – and her – physically and emotionally. By sharing their stories and insights gleaned along the way, their experiences are validated, and survivors are reminded that they are never alone in their journey and that there is hope.
“The inspiration behind this project is to show support for survivors and let them know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Raisman. “Our society has a long history of enabling abusers instead of supporting survivors and this is a huge problem. I hope people will tune in to learn some tools to recognize and help prevent abuse, and understand just how important it is to believe and support survivors. And for all the survivors out there, please know that you are not alone, you will not feel like this forever, and that there is hope.”
Raisman addressed her abuser, Larry Nassar, in a Michigan courtroom in January 2018, rallying other survivors to step forward and demand justice and accountability. Her voice helped set off a tectonic shift, exposing the pervasive system of abuse and enabling that has harmed America’s youth. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year federal prison sentence following his conviction on multiple charges of sexual assault.
Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light explores one of the largest child sexual abuse cases in the country where a beloved community pediatrician abused several generations of children and showcases the aftermath for the survivors in Johnstown, PA, follows conversations with a male survivor of the Ohio State abuse scandal, and details how disabled and transgender communities can be specific targets of abuse.
In addition, the special features an exclusive conversation with meToo founder Tarana Burke, in depth information from experts from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) and the nonprofit Darkness to Light, whose mission is to empower adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light closes with a roundtable discussion with experts and advocates–including Raisman, Anton Gunn (Darkness to Light Board Member, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama and the world’s leading authority on Socially Conscious Leadership) and Rachael Denhollander (attorney, author, and sexual abuse advocate)–on how to help prevent child sexual abuse while providing tools on how to move forward.
To that end, Darkness to Light has developed a comprehensive viewer’s guide for reflecting on Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light. It contains information about essential themes, questions to consider, ways to prepare yourself for what you watch, and resources that may be useful after viewing. Other resource include Raisman’s Darkness to Light campaign, Flip the Switch, which makes prevention education available at no cost.
Child sexual abuse can be a tough subject to face, but there is good news: now that you know the truth what your kids or friends could be facing, you have the chance to be a changemaker. Your response could make all the difference for someone going through a tough time!