Nikki Bella is sharing insights into her painful past in a new memoir, titled Incomparable, co-written with her twin Brie. The 36-year-old Total Bellas star shared graphic details about her assaults, and explained why she felt ashamed, until she learned to let it go. Now, she says she feels called to empower others.
Nikki wrote that she was raped at 15 by a fellow high school student she “thought was a friend.” When she was 16, she was raped after being drugged by a college-aged man.
“There is the horrible offense in the moment, and then the shame and blame that follow and feel almost worse than the original pain,” she wrote in the book. “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.”
Nikki sits down with People to discuss the assaults, and their effect on her life. The mom-to-be tells the magazine: “When that happened to me, I immediately just felt so ashamed and blamed myself, and that's what made me want to keep it such a secret. And keeping that a secret and blaming myself, I started to lose my confidence. I started to disrespect myself. 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.”
Now, she hopes to inspire others to let go of their past too. “When the #MeToo movement happened, I was just like, 'Oh my gosh.’ I feel like, if I'm having these younger women look up to me, maybe I can help them and have them not hold onto this as long as I did. It wasn't until I was 28 and in a relationship where someone started to teach me how to respect myself. That's how long I held on to things and felt I had no boundaries. And I'd always look at Brie like, 'Oh, she has boundaries, she treats herself with such respect. How do I not have this?' And I knew why. But I held onto it for so long. When I look back at just decisions I made based off of it, I wish I could have heard my words now as a 36-year-old woman then, and be like, 'You're going to be okay.'”