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Some of these conversations are included in “Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light,” which premieres on Friday, Sept. 24 at 8p/7c on Lifetime. The three-hour special follows the athlete as she with other survivors of abuse at the hands of physicians.
“Through sharing and validating their stories and insights, this community of survivors are reminded that they are never alone in their journey and that there is hope,” Lifetime states.
The special features survivors from the Ohio State abuse scandal as well as the Dr. Johnnie Barto case, considered one of the largest child sexual abuse cases in the country.
Barto, a former Pennsylvania pediatrician was sentenced to at least 79 years in prison in 2019 for sexually assaulting 31 children, NBC Philadelphia reported in 2019. Most of the victims were patients. The documentary details how the town supported and defended him when the accusations came to light.
“Everybody loved him, he could do no wrong,” Erika Brosig, who was abused by Barto when she was 13, says in “Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light.”
At Barto's sentencing, Brosig testified that she grieves for "the childhood I should have had," NBC Philadelphia reported in 2019.
She and other victims of the doctor discuss their stories to Raisman in an effort to heal as a group.
Raisman also meets up with Michael DiSabato, one of the pivotal figures in the Ohio State scandal. She thanks him for becoming an advocate for male survivors of sexual assault.
DiSabato brought forward claims about Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, in 2018, the Associated Press reported last year. He reported that the doctor groped him during an exam when he was a wrestler. He was one of the first accusers.
Investigators ultimately concluded that Strauss sexually abused 177 people, mostly student-athletes.
DiSabato tells the producers of the series that it took him learning about the 2016 arrest of Nassar to realize that he had been abused.
Nassar pleaded guilty in 2017 to criminal sexual conduct in relation to 10 of the more than 265 women and girls who have come forward to say they were assaulted. He is currently behind bars, serving up to 175 years in prison. Raisman was one of many survivors who gave a powerful victim-impact statement at his sentencing.
The special also features an exclusive conversation with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and advocates Anton Gunn and Rachael Denhollander.
"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,” says 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."