Trigger warning—the rest of this article contains details of rape and abuse.
According to MMA Fighting’s website, the flyweight fighter opens up about an incident that took place at a party when she was 14 years old, where a group of boys raped her while she was drunk. In her book, which was released today, she also explains how the bullying that followed the incident was so traumatic that she changed her last name—it was previously Sletten—after kids began calling her “Slutton.” Her family decided to move to Nevada from Oregon in order to escape the bullying after they found condoms hanging from the trees outside of their house.
"They move me around," VanZant writes. "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."
"I didn't have anywhere to run to. I didn't have anybody to turn to," said VanZant, according to ESPN. "[It was] bad enough that I had to run into the bathroom, and I'd eat my lunch on the toilet...because I just felt too scared to eat lunch in the cafeteria."
VanZant explained to MMA Fighting that she wanted to share her story in order to help advocate against sexual violence and bullying. “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. “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.”
VanZant is currently still nursing a broken arm she sustained in a fight against Jessica-Rose Clark back in January.