MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Blocks away from Art Basel, a group of women got together to talk about taboo topics – among them speaking up.
Among them, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman who for the past month has grabbed headlines after she said the former U.S. gymnastics team doctor sexual abused her. The former coach was sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison for child porn charges.
“I think the last month, I couldn’t have been more honest with the world. It’s been very hard for me but I think it’s really important,” said Raisman.
It’s something she says took her a long time to come to terms with which is why she wants to make sure others in similar situations feel supported to speak up.
“For anyone out there that’s struggling to speak out or is going through something that’s really tough, I would say that I hope they know that whenever they’re ready to speak up, I support them and there are so many people out there that are ready to support them,” said Raisman. “No one out there should feel uncomfortable or scared.”
This is a cause that is near and dear to Jaclyn Johnson who was born and raised in West Palm Beach.
She’s the founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate, an organization meant to connect, empower and enlighten women. They’ve paired with companies like Aerie to host events for those wanting to join in the conversation.
To her, it’s about creating an open environment online and offline to take on taboo topics.
“It’s really empowering right now because so many women are coming forward and telling their stories about you know what they’ve sort of been dealing with for decades but I think there’s women who still haven’t shared their story,” said Johnson. “It’s important right now to create that supportive environment online and offline so that these women feel that they can come forward.”
She’s brought on big names to promote the movement which spans from speaking up to expanding entrepreneurial skills and more.
Big names like Chelsea Handler, Rachel Zoe, Gloria Steinem, Jessica Alba and a soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle have joined in the Create & Cultivate conversations ranging from business to personal.
For Raisman, the conversation on speaking out has just started.
“The more that we can continue to talk about that….I think the more we can help other people,” she said.
It’s something she’ll continue to push for while also focusing on her new book ‘Fierce’ but as for what’s next, she says, “After the book, I will start training again but right now I’m just kind of taking a mental break. I’m excited for the holidays and to spend time with my family just to kind of mentally relax again.”
Click here for more info about Create & Cultivate.