UFC fighter Paige VanZant spoke to several media outlets today and opened up publicly for the first time about being raped when she was a freshman in high school. VanZant has a book coming out soon, and in it she writes about being sexually assaulted by a group of boys at a house party when she was 14.
“I was a changed person,” she told Good Morning America. VanZant says she considered suicide, but ultimately, “MMA fighting definitely saved my life, and it saved who I was as a person too.” VanZant says she felt ready to speak up about her rape and the ensuing bullying she experienced in part because of the strength of the #MeToo movement.
“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,” she wrote in the book. VanZant said she shared her story in hopes of helping other survivors of sexual assault as well as those being bullied, and that Aly Raisman’s unflinching impact statement was particularly inspiring.
“That’s what I needed to actually move forward with my book,” she said. “I really hope that if I can change one life, then me telling my story is worth it.”