In her new novel, Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life, UFC flyweight Paige VanZant shares a heartrending account of the time she was raped at 14 years old.
Speaking during an appearance on Good Morning America, the flyweight opened up on this harrowing ordeal, which occurred when she was invited to a party by an older guy.
Apparently, there were red flags from the moment she walked through the front door.
“I felt like I was a smart girl,” she said on the show, recounting the night of her sexual assault (via MMAJunkie). “My parents raised me well. They raised me to know better and to have some intuition, and it all went out the window just because I was so lonely, and I was in so much pain. All I could think about is like, ‘Wow, I have somebody that wants to be my friend.’
“When I walked in the door of their house, I was like, ‘This probably isn’t a good idea.”
VanZant continues in a distressing passage of her novel:
“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 can do nothing to stop it. I have no voice or choice but to submit and pray that it ends soon.”
When her schoolmates found out what had happened at the party, VanZant says she was bullied with such severity that she contemplated suicide.
“I didn’t see any other way out,” she added during her appearance Good Morning America. “When you’re in that position, when in you’re feeling that much pain, it’s not that you want to die. You just don’t want to be in pain any more.”
Today, when Paige VanZant is an established MMA star, she says that the sport played a central role in saving her life.
“MMA fighting definitely saved my life,” she said. “It saved who I was as a person, too.”
Her goal, at this stage, is to use her station as a public figure to help others struggling with similar situations.
“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,” VanZant told MMAFighting in an interview this week. “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.”
Learn more about Paige VanZant’s new book here.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/10/2018.