Within her new tell-all, Nikki Bella shared that she was sexually assaulted as a teenager. She also said the ‘shame’ and pain she felt after her rape led her to keep it a secret for years.
“My dad was controlling, abusive, and strict, and he had never really let me speak to boys,” Nikki Bella writes in her and Brie Bella’s memoir, Incomparable. In the book, Nikki, 36, revealed that after her parents divorced when she was fifteen, she lost her virginity “on the floor of a Hyatt hotel room on the 4th of July.” However, the WWE Hall Of Famer writes, ” ‘Lost my virginity’ is very inaccurate, actually. My virginity was stolen from me, without my consent. I was raped, by a guy I thought was a friend, while I was passed out at a party.
“I’d had too many beers, and maybe some shots of hard alcohol, and I only woke up because my stomach hurt—I came to, and this guy was both on top of me and inside of me,” writes Nikki. “I pushed him off and ran out of the room—he followed me down the hall and asked me if this meant we were now boyfriend/ girlfriend. It is f-cked up—shocking in retrospect—that it never occurred to me to call the police. I didn’t even tell my sister because by admitting that it had happened, it became true, it became fact.”
Nikki says that her attacker “didn’t apologize, he didn’t worry about getting in trouble. He thought that by taking advantage of me, he should now have official and full access to me. That this attack would actually make me his, in a celebrated social way. I get enraged even writing about this now. I know I was not the only girl in our high school who was violated like that and then expected to shrug it off the next day—this is what it was like.”
“And man, do I pray things are different now, that girls realize that if something that horrendous and sickening happens to them, they can and should say and do something,” adds the Total Bellas star. “I wish I had known that I could have taken away his future the way he had taken something so sacred away from me. Something I was waiting to share with someone I loved, at the time of my choice.”
Nikki also detailed a second incident that took place “a few months later” after the first sexual assault. A teenage Nikki and friend attended a modeling competition in California. They met two guys (“they were college age, if not in their mid-twenties) who invited them back to their hotel room, and Nikki went “even though they gave me the creeps.” After being pressured to drink orange juice and vodka from a jug, Nikki relented. “I hadn’t drunk very much before I felt really dizzy and stood up to go to the bathroom, thinking I might vomit.
One of the two guys followed Nikki into the bathroom and “bashed [her] head against” the sink. She writes that she “came to when he accidentally switched on the blow-dryer with his elbow.” Nikki, recognizing that she had “clearly been roofied” and raped, hit her attacker and fled. She made it back to her own hotel room where her teenage friend was there. “She had left me behind and run. But she had also been raped and was hysterical and in the shower. Her mom held me until I calmed down.”
Like with the first incident, this rape wasn’t reported to the police. “We all decided to pretend like it had never happened. Even my mom is learning about this for the first time in this book,” Nikki writes, adding that the three — Nikki, her friend, and her friend’s mother — were shamed into silence. The mother felt as if she failed to protect the girls, while Nikki and her friend felt they were to blame “for willing going into the guys’ room, for drinking alcohol illegally.”
“The #MeToo movement both enthralls me with its potential and reminds me why rape and sexual assault are a double slap for women,” concludes Nikki. “There is the horrible offense in the moment, and then the shame and blame that follow and feel almost worse than the original pain. When something like this happens to you, you understand the blame-the-victim mentality, how easy it is to feel shame rather than anger, how easy it is to feel like you could have stopped it yourself. The “if onlys,” the “why didn’t I’s…”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there is help. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a safe, confidential service that will connect you with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.
Nikki and Brie Bella’s Incomparable is out from Simon & Schuster today (May 5).