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This article contains accounts of sexual assault and an overdose. If you or someone you know has survived sexual abuse and would like help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
Demi Lovato has come forward publicly with two upsetting stories from her past in her new YouTube documentary, Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil. In the emotional series, Demi said she has been sexually assaulted twice: on the night of her 2018 overdose by her drug dealer, and when she was a 15 year old Disney star by another teenager. "I didn't just overdose. I was taken advantage of," she said of the former. "When they found me, I was naked, blue. I was literally left for dead after he took advantage of me."
"When I woke up in the hospital, they asked if we had had consensual sex. There was one flash that I had of him on top of me. I saw that flash and I said yes. It wasn't until a month after the overdose that I realized, 'You weren't in any state of mind to make a consensual decision.'"
Speaking about 2018 lead Demi to talk about being raped as a teenager for the first time publicly, saying she initially didn't come forward about the more recent assault because she was afraid of not being believed after what happened to her as a teen.
"When I was a teenager, I was in a very similar situation. I lost my virginity in a rape," she said. Demi did not name who attacked her, only saying they were "hooking up" at the time and she was not ready to lose her virginity.
"I was part of that Disney crowd that publicly said they were waiting until marriage. I didn't have the romantic first time," Lovato said. "That was not it for me—that sucked. Then I had to see this person all the time so I stopped eating and coped in other ways."
"I really beat myself up for years, which is also why I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that it was a rape when it happened. We were hooking up but I said, 'Hey, this is not going any further. I'm a virgin and I don't want to lose it this way.' And that didn't matter to them, they did it anyways. And I internalized it, and I told myself it was my fault because I still went in the room with him. I still hooked up with him."
Disturbingly, Demi added that she did tell adults in her life about her rape, but the person who assaulted her "never got in trouble for it."
"They never got taken out of the movie they were in. But I've always kept it quiet because I've always had something to say and it's like, I don't know, I'm tired of opening my mouth. So there's the tea," she said.
After both assaults, Demi said she reacted with "textbook trauma re-enactments" by trying to "take control" of the situation by staying in contact with both people despite what they did to her. "I called that person back a month later and tried to make it right by being in control. All it did was make me feel worse," she said about her teen assault.
Now, Demi is being open about what happened to her and explained why:
“I’m coming forward about what happened to me because everyone that happens to should absolutely speak their voice if they can and feel comfortable doing so,” she added. “Women are typically more repressed than men, especially at 15 years old, and especially as a little child star role model who’s supposed to be perfect, who had a promise ring! So what—I’m supposed to come out to the public after saying I have a promise ring? Six months later, I’m supposed to say, well I had sex—even though it was rape! Some people aren’t going to see it that way.”
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil premieres for free on YouTube on March 23, 2021.
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