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UFC Fighter Paige VanZant Says She Was Gang Raped in High School

Getty Images Alex Trautwig
Getty Images/Alex Trautwig

UFC fighter Paige VanZant says she was gang raped by several boys as a 14-year-old, and has had suicidal thoughts ever since.

In an ABC interview which aired Tuesday on Good Morning America, VanZant, 24, relayed the harrowing tale while promoting her memoir, RISE: Surviving the Fight of My Life.

VanZant described her experience in vivid detail.

“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.”

VanZant explained how the feeling of tremendous loneliness she experienced, contributed to her not recognizing proper forms of attention.

According to ESPN, “I felt like I was a smart girl. 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.

“I was in so much pain, I just … all I could think about was, ‘Wow, I have somebody who wants to be my friend,'” she said of the alleged assault. “When I walked in the door of their house, I was like, ‘This probably isn’t such a good idea.'”

After the rape, VanZant experienced intense emotions and thought about ending her life.

“I didn’t see any other way out,” VanZant said. “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.”

According to TMZ, “Paige says the bullying she experienced after the rape was unbearable — and led to her changing her last name from Sletten to VanZant because the kids at school nicknamed her “Slutton.” Her family ultimately moved from Oregon to Nevada to give her a fresh start.”

VanZant credits MMA with saving her life.

“I really hope that if I can change one life, then me telling my story is worth it.”

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn


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