Demi Lovato Opened Up About Her Sexual Assault as a Teen—and How It Was Ignored

Though she told "somebody of power," her cry for help went unanswered.

Warning: This post discusses sexual assault and rape. This post has been updated to clarify comments about the accusation.

In a March 28th interview with The Sunday Times, Demi Lovato extrapolated on her first experience with sexual assault, which she initially touched upon in her YouTube documentary, Dancing With the Devil. Lovato recalled that she was raped at just 15 and despite going to someone who could have helped her, “Nothing was done about it,” Lovato said.

Though she did not identify her rapist, Lovato said they were kept in the movie they were currently working on when Lovato told somebody of power what had occurred.

Lovato had been raised a Christian and had also been saving herself for marriage at the time of her attack. “[I felt] so ashamed,” she told The Times after she lost her virginity in the rape. “That was what was replaying in my head: ‘You’re not married, you’re not married, you’re not married—you’re bad.’ I went three years with ‘I’m bad, I’m wrong, I’m dirty’. This is why I went away to treatment, pretty much.”

“I called that person back a month later and tried to make it right by being in control, and all it did was just make me feel worse,” Lovato opened up in Dancing With the Devil, now available to stream on YouTube, calling this act of taking control “trauma re-enactment.”

“There’s a sense of agency that I guess I felt when I was the one to call them back and kind of correct the situation, in my eyes,” she told The Times. “Because if I was the one in control, then I was fixing it. Which obviously isn’t the case. Like, what happened still happened. And this is not going to make it any better.”

It wasn’t until the #MeToo movement gained traction in 2018 that she realized she was not alone in her trauma. I realized, oh my gosh, this happens in the industry all the time, she said.

It seems as though Lovato has chosen to stay mum about naming names—both the name of the person who raped her and the person who ignored her cry for help—for the foreseeable future. She’s now on the path of moving on and can better cope with her past trauma and addiction, and that’s the most important thing in this equation.

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