UFC Star Paige VanZant Opens Up About Being Gang Raped & Bullied
Paige VanZant is already known throughout the MMA world, but now she is really opening up about her time as a teenager and her ability to overcome adversity she dealt with in high school in her new book.
The UFC women’s flyweight fighter went into harrowing detail about the time a bunch of boys in high school gang raped her after they got her drunk and she couldn’t defend herself.
“They move me around,” VanZant wrote. 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.”
VanZant stated when she got to the sensitive parts of the book, she spoke to a ghost writer and wrote down her account of the things. That was all done by design for a reason.
“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,” VanZant said. “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.”
The rape didn’t end there. Fellow classmates made her life a living hell afterwards. When rumors spread that she had consensual sex with multiple boys, she was bullied non-stop, which made her eventually change her last name for good. Born Paige Sletten, VanZant got called “Paige Slutton” by schoolmates.
She would often come home and find condoms hung from the trees around her house “like Christmas ornaments,” she wrote.
“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,” said VanZant, who also wrote about an abusive relationship which led to her getting arrested for DUI. “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.”
VanZant expects social media to be rather crazy once the book releases, but she has a plan in place.
“I get nervous for everything, but I’m especially nervous for this,” she said. “I think it’s just gonna be one of those moments I tell myself, I tell my family — everybody — let’s stay off social media, let’s just let it be out there for a few days and if I don’t pay attention to social media, it’s like it’s not even happening. I don’t have to know what’s happening, I don’t have to know if people like it or not, I just get to live life and know my story is out there.”
Her new book is titled “Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life.”