Nikki Bella is finally ready to talk about a painful piece of her past. In a new memoir co-written with her twin sister Brie titled Incomparable, the former pro wrestler opens up about the sexual assaults she experienced as a teenager, and how she’s handled the memory of them in the years since.
When she was just 15 years old, Nikki was raped by a fellow high school student who she considered to be a friend. Just a year later, she was again assaulted after being drugged by a man who was college-aged.
“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,” she writes in the memoir.
In speaking with People about the revelations, Nikki said that she held on to the feeling that she was to blame for the assaults for years afterward. What’s more, she said that the event had repercussions for her relationships for years afterward.
She said that, because she blamed herself, she wanted to keep the incidents a secret. Nikki said that the secret ultimately wore on her, and she began to lose confidence and respect for herself.
“And then the relationships I got into at a young age, I let other people disrespect me and felt like, that’s okay, this is what I deserved,” she told the magazine.
Nikki said that she was in that state for a long time, and would go to therapy on and off. In retrospect, the former pro wrestler said that she wished she had let go of her past much sooner.
Now, she says she’s eager to share her story in the hopes that it will help other women dealing with similar traumas. She said that the #MeToo movement had been inspirational for her, and she wants to show younger women how to recover without holding onto the trauma for years. She said that it wasn’t until she was 28 and in a relationship that she began to learn how to respect herself.
In addition to the stories of assault, the new memoir also offers a look at what it was like for both Nikki and Brie growing up. Nikki said that she hoped the book would serve as an inspiration for readers who wanted to be the hero of their own stories.