NOTE: This article contains sexual and offensive language and may be triggering for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
In the memoir, co-written with her twin Brie Bella, Nikki shares the details about two sexual assaults she dealt with as a teenager and why she’s decided to share her truth now.
The Total Bellas star said that she was sexually assaulted at 15 years old by a fellow high school student who she “thought was a friend.”
She added that at 16 years old, she was assaulted again after being drugged by a college-age 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, according to People. “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 explained to the outlet why she held onto the blame for years.
“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,” she said. “And keeping that a secret and blaming myself, I started to lose my confidence.”
She continued, “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.”
Nikki said that she would go to therapy “on and off” and she wished she would have let go of the pain earlier.
“Looking at it now I’m like, ‘Oh Nicole, I wish you just would’ve let go at a young age. So much would have changed for you.’ And I think that’s what made me really want to tell these stories finally,” she said.
The Total Divas star said hopes sharing her story will help empower others.
“When the #MeToo movement happened, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh,'” she said. “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.”
Nikki added that when she was 28 years old, the person she was dating “started to teach me how to respect myself.”
“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,” she explained.
Nikki said that when she looks back on decisions she made back then she wishes she “could have heard my words now as a 36-year-old woman then, and be like, ‘You’re going to be okay.”
Incomparable was released on May 5.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.