Demi Lovato Revealed That Her First Time Having Sex Was Rape
Demi Lovato has been reluctant to share her story, but the singer got candid in her YouTube docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil.
The performer, who's been in the public eye since she was a child, opened up about being sexually abused as a teen.
"I lost my virginity in a rape," she said in the docuseries, adding that she struggled with classifying it as such.
"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," Lovato continued. "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 … "
Part of that internalized shame had to do with the public perception of Lovato, who was a Disney Channel star at the time.
"So 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 actually I had sex, even though it was rape …' Some people aren't going to see it that way," she worried, "or at least the Christian Southern girl inside of me didn't see it that way, because sex was not normalized as a child, or in the South."
Naturally, the abuse had a negative effect on Lovato's mental health and sent her seeking dangerous coping mechanisms.
"I didn't have the romantic first time with anybody. That was not it for me, and that sucked," she said. "And then I had to see this person all the time, so I stopped eating, and coped in other ways … Cutting, throwing up, whatever. My bulimia got so bad that I started throwing up blood for the first time."
Lovato said she was discouraged from coming forward after watching the media implosion that occurred after photos of a bruised Rihanna were leaked to the press when the Fenty mogul was dating Chris Brown. Years later, after the #MeToo movement gained momentum in Hollywood, Lovato felt oversaturated and "tired of opening my mouth."
"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," Lovato said. "There's the tea."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).