Demi Lovato: I Was Raped While Working for Disney Channel

Star, now 28, says she was sexually assaulted as a teen, had to see her attacker 'all the time' afterward
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2021 10:19 AM CDT

Demi Lovato has been candid in recent years about her mental health struggles and substance abuse problems, and now she's opening up about another personal trauma. Per the Guardian, the 28-year-old singer reveals in her YouTube docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil that when she was a 15-year-old working for the Disney Channel, she was raped by someone she knew, and that her attacker never saw any repercussions from it. "I lost my virginity in a rape," she says in the four-part program, the first two episodes of which drop Tuesday. And she had "a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that it was a rape when it happened." That's because she says it was initially a consensual experience that went bad after she told the offender she didn't want to go too far and "they did it anyways." "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," she says, adding she "had to see this person all the time" afterward. More:

  • Lovato says she'd been reluctant to come forward publicly at the time because, among other reasons, she'd seen how Rihanna was criticized after she was assaulted by Chris Brown in 2009, per USA Today. "My #MeToo story is me telling somebody that someone did this to me, and they never got in trouble for it. They never got taken out of the movie they were in," she says, though she hasn't revealed who she told.
  • Lovato also hasn't said exactly when or where it happened, but she says she's speaking publicly now "because everyone that that happens to should absolutely speak their voice if they can and feel comfortable doing so."
  • The once-sober Lovato also reveals in the series that she now drinks in moderation and smokes pot, a fact that worries those who care for her. But she says that, although she knows she's not "invincible" against her "powerful disease," she also has "full faith you're not going to open up TMZ and see another overdose headline. ... Over time you'll see that I'm good."
  • As for that 2018 overdose, she shares two grim details: that the dealer who came over with the drugs she overdosed on sexually assaulted her while she was barely conscious, and that she woke up from the overdose in the hospital to discover she was legally blind. She hasn't regained total vision. "I can't drive anymore and I have blind spots ... so sometimes when I go to pour a glass of water, I totally miss the cup because I can't see it anymore."
(Read more Demi Lovato stories.)

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