The UFC women’s strawweight fighter dropped the bombshell in her new book, “Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life,” which was released on Tuesday. In it, she describes being sexually assaulted by a group of boys at a party.
Born Paige Sletten, she legally changed her last name to VanZant in direct response to the rape. Boys at her school were calling her “Paige Slutton,” and of course that always brought the horrifying reminder of what had happened to her.
Since coming forward with her story, VanZant has received overwhelming support. But she has also been tagged as an opportunist, and far worse, by many commenters.
Just about the worst place in the world is the comments section on a website. There, with the anonymity the internet provides, people lay bare their worst instincts. Many commenters questioned the veracity of VanZant’s story, as if she, or any other woman, would willingly put themselves through the storm that is sure to follow such pronouncements.
There were many such comments below the news stories on the rape all over the internet.
Rape is not a crime of sex. It is a crime of power, a crime of domination, of control. Culture has for years made women who have been raped feel they had done something wrong, as if they’d somehow brought this horrible crime come upon them by something they did.