UFC fighter Paige VanZant is joining the #MeToo conversation and speaking out about her rape for the first time. In her new book, RISE: Surviving the Fight of My Life, the MMA fighter revealed she was sexually assaulted at a high school party and has suffered from suicidial thoughts ever since.
In her memoir, Paige, now 24, details the harrowing details of the experience, describing how several men raped her and she could not defend herself. “They move me around,” she 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.”
In an interview with Good Morning America, Paige explained how she only just recently came out to her parents. “I felt like I was a smart girl,” the former model said. “My parents raised me well. They raised me to know better and to have some intuition. It all went out the window just because I was so lonely.” She also opened up about the suicidal thoughts that followed.
“I didn’t see any other way out,” she added. “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.” Despite the traumatizing experience, Paige has fought her way to the top (literally) and has also appeared on reality shows such as Dancing With the Stars and Chopped. She just hopes her words can help someone in a similar situation.
“It almost makes it feel like everything I went through was worth it,” Paige told MMA Fighting. “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.”
Paige’s book tour kicked off on Tuesday, April 10 in NYC and she will signing copies of her memoir at more stops including Chicago, and San Diego.