"There is the horrible offense in the moment, and then the shame and blame that follow and feel almost worse than the original pain."
Nikki Bella says she was raped twice when she was in high school.
In her new memoir "Incomparable," which she co-wrote with her twin sister, Brie Bella, the former WWE star, 36, opened up about the sexual assaults for the first time, recalling traumatic details from the painful experiences.
"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," wrote Nikki in the memoir, according to Us Weekly. "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. 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. ... I had never even seen a penis, yet I was no longer a virgin."
According to the "Total Bellas" star, she was assaulted again a few months later by a college-aged man after she had agreed to drink alcohol.
"I thought that if I gave in on this, maybe they'd leave me alone. 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 guys followed me in and bashed my head against the bathroom sink -- I came to when he accidentally switched on the blow-dryer with his elbow," Nikki recalled. "I had clearly been roofied -- I was groggy, and I couldn't see straight, but I could see four condom wrappers littered across the bathroom floor and realized that I had been raped. I hit him in the face and ran from the bathroom -- my friend was gone and the door was open. I took off into the night, sprinting across empty fields until I made it back to the hotel where we were staying with her mom."
While reflecting on her assaults in the memoir, Nikki said she now understands the "blame-the-victim mentality."
"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, per 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, who is expecting her first child with Artem Chigvintsev, spoke about how being raped at such a young age influenced her view of herself and impacted her life.
"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 told People in a new interview. "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."
"I was like that for a really long time," she added. "I would go to therapy on and off. 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."
The E! star said the #MeToo movement inspired her to come forward with her story in order to help other women who have been assaulted.
"When the #MeToo movement happened, I was just like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Nikki explained to the publication. "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...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.'"