Legendary swimmer Diana Nyad -- who's shared her story of sexual assault for years -- says it's time to accept there are MILLIONS of victims, and start taking a closer look at the perpetrators.
Diana tells TMZ the rash of sexual abuse claims since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke should be a wake up call for society to stop living in denial. She calls it an epidemic, and says much like the response to mass shootings ... people express shock, then do nothing to fix the problem.
Diana says she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her swim coach, starting when she was 14.
While the spotlight is on Hollywood now ... she believes sexual abuse is also rampant in the sports world, and more victims will soon start coming forward.