Demi Lovato opens up about sexual assault when she was a teenager

Kristine Tarbert
·Features and Health Editor
·4-min read

Trigger Warning: This story discusses sexual assault

Demi Lovato has opened up about an alleged sexual assault she has kept hidden since she was a teenager, the bombshell revelation one of many to come out of her raw and honest documentary Dancing With the Devil.

The four-part series, which premiered at this year's SXSW Film Festival in the US and arrives on YouTube on March 23, features the singer opening up about her 2018 overdose, her drug use and a #MeToo story which allegedly occurred while she was working for Disney, as part of the Camp Rock cast.

"When I was a teenager ... I lost my virginity in a rape," Demi says. 

"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. There's the tea.

Demi Lovato arrives at the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards
Demi Lovato has shared a shocking #MeToo story in her new documentary. Photo: Getty

"We were hooking up, but I said, 'This isn't going any farther,'" she says of the assault, which occurred when she was 15.

"That didn't matter to them; they did it anyways. I internalised it — I told myself it was my fault because I still went in the room with him."

As a Disney star who had young fans, Demi says she felt the pressure to keep the story out of the press.

"I was part of the Disney crowd that publicly said they were waiting until marriage. I didn't have that romantic first time with anybody — that was not it for me."

The new documentary opens with a warning: "This documentary contains raw and honest discussions about addiction, eating disorders, sexual abuse and mental health. It may be triggering for some."

And it is well warranted as the star continues to reveal how her mental health suffered as a result of the assault.

Shockingly, it wasn't the only such instance either, as she goes on to share that on the night of her overdose, she was also allegedly sexually assaulted by her dealer, who supplied her with the drugs that almost killed her.

"When they found me, I was naked and I was blue. I was literally left for dead after he took advantage of me," she says.

"When I woke up in the hospital, they asked me if I'd had consensual sex. There was one flash I had of him on top of me. I saw that flash and said, 'Yes.' It wasn't until a month after my overdose until I realised, 'You weren't in any state of mind to make a consensual decision.'"

demi lovato in Dancing with the Devil
Demi's documentary airs on Youtube on March 23. Photo: Dancing with the Devil

In a trailer clip for the docu released last month, Demi revealed she had suffered 'three strokes' and a heart attack during her harrowing overdose ordeal.

The 28-year-old singer said: "My doctors said that I had five to 10 more minutes."

The overdose occurred at Demi's Los Angeles home on July 24, 2018. Police responded to a 911 call about a medical emergency, and they revived Demi with Narcan, which is used to treat narcotics overdoses, before taking her to nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

She spent two weeks there before moving to an in-patient rehab centre.

The incident happened a month after Demi revealed in her song "Sober" that she had relapsed after having maintained her sobriety for six years.

Now, despite her close call with death, Demi has also revealed that she's not completely sober and doesn't believe she'll ever be.

"I'm done with the stuff that's going to kill me," she stresses. "Telling myself that I can never have a drink or smoke marijuana, I feel like that's setting myself up for failure. But I also don't want people to hear that and think they can just go out and try it. It isn't for everybody. Recovery isn't a one size fits all solution. You shouldn't be forced to get sober if you're not ready and you shouldn't get sober for other people. You have to do it for yourself."

For sexual assault and family and domestic violence support you can call 1800respect on 1800 737 732. Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

Additional reporting by Ethan Alter.

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