Today marks the release of Nikki and Brie Bella’s new memoir, Incomparable, and with it, some deeply tragic details about the sisters’ past. The book covers a lot of ground, dating back to the Bella twins’ childhood, going on to recap their rise to fame on WWE and, later, E!’s Total Divas and Total Bellas. But among the truths uncovered in the intimate tell-all are heartbreaking details about Nikki’s history of sexual assault.
In Incomparable, Nikki emotionally reveals she was raped twice in high school, and that the “shame” she felt afterward kept her from telling anyone about what had happened. When she was 15, Nikki writes, the twins’ parents got divorced. Around that time, she lost her virginity “on the floor of a Hyatt hotel room on the 4th of July.” Only, it wasn’t consensual. “‘Lost my virginity’ is very inaccurate, actually. My virginity was stolen from me, without my consent,” she clarifies. “I was raped, by a guy I thought was a friend, while I was passed out at a party.”
She awoke, disoriented, in the middle of the attack and managed to push her attacker off and run out of the room. “He followed me down the hall and asked me if this meant we were now boyfriend/girlfriend,” says Nikki. “It is fucked up — shocking in retrospect — that it never occurred to me to call the police. I didn’t even tell my sister because by admitting that it had happened, it became true; it became fact.”
— Nikki & Brie (@BellaTwins) May 4, 2020
Nikki goes on to recount harrowing details about a second incident that took place “a few months later.” Then-teen-Nikki attended a modeling competition in California with a friend, where they met two guys “college age, if not in their mid-twenties.”
After being pressured to return to their hotel room and chug orange juice and vodka from a jug, Nikki began to feel dizzy. But when she excused herself to the bathroom, one of the guys followed her and “bashed [her] head against” the sink. When she came to, she realized she had “clearly been roofied” and raped again. As with the first incident, Nikki (and in this case her friend, who was also raped) didn’t call the authorities out of shame.
It’s the reason, in part, that has compelled Nikki to open up about her haunting past. “Man, do I pray things are different now, that girls realize that if something that horrendous and sickening happens to them, that they can and should say and do something,” she writes.
She also addressed the inherent complexities of coming forward. “The #MeToo movement both enthralls me with its potential and reminds me why rape and sexual assault are a double slap for women. 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 laments in the memoir.
She continues, “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. The ‘if onlys,’ the ‘why didn’t I’s.’”
If you or someone you know has or is being sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org for safe, confidential help.