Just like any other activity out there, mixed martial arts is not for everyone. For some people, though it can be a lifeline. Take USF star Paige VanZant, for example. Recently, she revealed that she was essentially gang-raped at a party while she was in high school in Oregon. As her time in the emotionally jarring four years known as “high school” went on, VanZant increasingly became despondent and somewhat suicidal.
VanZant said some of her classmates later found out and spread rumors that the sex was consensual instead of rape.
The fighter said she had been bullied prior to the rape but it became more severe after the rumors spread.
She was born Paige Sletten but changed her name after students started calling her ‘Paige Slutton’. VanZant also came home from school one day to find condoms hanging from the trees around her house.
She told ABC News in an interview to promote her book that she would often run to the bathroom to eat lunch because she was too scared to eat in the cafeteria with other students.
High school can be a rough time with fellow students bullying and the like, but that is ridiculous. So is the fact that VanZant apparently never told the adults in her life. Not her parents, counselors at the school, police or anyone who could have helped her get past the incident for which the teen boys who are responsible never faced charges.
However, mixed martial arts helped VanZant get past the stigma, shame, and all that comes with being violated in ways that no one should ever have to bear.
‘MMA fighting saved my life. It saved who I was as a person too,’ she said.
How often does this happen? That is a question that remains unanswered just about everywhere.