VanZant Discusses Overcoming Sexual Assault

UFC fighter Paige VanZant’s new memoir “Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life,” comes out this week, and in the book, the UFC women’s flyweight competitor writes about being the victim of sexual assault in high school.

VanZant spoke with MMA Fighting about the incident, and felt that the only way she could be an advocate for victims of sexual assault and bullying, like she went through as a teenager, in her own words was by writing a book.

“I had written stuff in high school, and I had written things here and there,” she said. “It got to the point where it was like, you know, it’s time for me to share it. I guess being on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and being on all these shows and I kept being asked about it, I guess it was time to just be very transparent. If I was gonna say anything and be open about it, the best way to do it is to write it down in a book and let people read it. So it doesn’t necessarily have to come out of my mouth, but people get to hear my story.”

VanZant goes into graphic detail of the incident, which took place while she was in high school in her native Oregon, where a group of boys got her drunk at a party.

“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 said she felt comfortable telling sensitive parts of the book to a ghost writer, and that she wanted to say it once, so she’d never have to look at it again.

“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.”


VanZant, who was subsequently bullied for this, wants to help those who are victims of bullying, sexual assault, and those who were in abusive relationships/

“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.”


Original Story: MMA Fighting


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