UFC star Paige VanZant opens up about being raped by multiple boys when she was just 14 in new book
UFC star Paige VanZant opens up about her teen years when she was raped by multiple classmates at a party and how she spiraled into depression.
UFC star, mixed martial artist, and former model Paige Michelle VanZant, who recently released a tell-all book 'Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life,' serves as an inspiration to girls everywhere. Considered a kind of a tomboy while growing up - her vested interests included riding dirt bikes shooting, hunting, and fishing - she says she took up martial arts so she could defend herself.
But it wasn't only physical defense. She was bullied relentlessly through her teen years after rumors began to circulate suggesting she had sex with multiple boys at a party. She was mocked and taunted over her last name, Sletton, which was changed up to 'Paige Slutton' so much over the alleged incident, that she legally changed her last name to VanZant. She also wrote in her book that she came back home once to find condoms hung around the trees of her house like 'Christmas ornaments.'
The 24-year-old details out the never-ending bullying she had to endure in Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life,' which was released on April 10, 2018. She shockingly states that she did not have sex with the boys but was raped by multiple classmates after they got her severely intoxicated at the party and that she was unable to defend herself.
In the heavy-hitting segment where she bravely recalls the horrifying incident, she wrote: "They move me around. They change my position. I fail each time I try to resist, my limbs like wet cement on my body, my brain a heavy fog."
"I am awake and conscious, but my body feels dead. I know what is happening but I can do nothing to stop it. I have no voice or choice but to submit and pray that it ends soon. I didn't have anywhere to run to. I didn't have anywhere to turn to," adding that her parents were unaware of the sexual assault and that she had spoken to them of it only recently.
She told Good Morning America: "I felt like I was a smart girl. My parents raised me well. They raised me to know better and to have some intuition. It went all out the window because I was so lonely. I was in so much pain, I just...all I could think about, 'Wow, I have somebody who wants to be my friend.'"
She says that the incident got her into such a dark place that she often considered taking her own life, unable to withstand the torture any longer. She wrote: "I didn't see any other way out. When you're in that position, when you're feeling that much pain, it's not that you want to die. You just don't want to be in pain anymore," later adding that it was competing in MMA that arguably saved her life.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, she said she wanted to relay her traumatic experience in her book because she could then be an advocate for victims of sexual assault and bullying, stating that she has already met girls who are assault victims who reached out to her through social media. She says she wants to show victims that there is always a way back, even from the direst of circumstances.
She said: "A huge reason I’m getting the book out is because I want to be an advocate for anti-bullying, I want to be an advocate. That’s the main wave I want to start from this. The hardest thing for me was the bullies. That just really sunk me even lower, that no one was even there for me."
"It almost makes it feel like everything I went through was worth it,” VanZant said. “Like I went through it for a purpose. Once this book comes out, if it changes someone’s life, then what I went through wasn’t meaningless, it wasn’t something terrible. It wasn’t a tragedy. It was something beautiful and it’s gonna be good and it’s gonna help people," she continued.
She also said that she used a ghostwriter to jot down that particular part of the book because she did not want to have to repeat it multiple times: "Just so I got to say it one time — I said exactly what I wanted to say to a person, they wrote it down and then I never had to look at it again. So, it was me voicing everything that happened and I just got it out in the open and I never had to look at it again. It was one of those things where I tell the story and move on."