Content warning: This article about Demi Lovato discusses rape, sexual assault, drug overdoses and suicide. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or having suicidal thoughts, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
The new YouTube documentary series, Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil, premiered virtually at SXSW Film Festival on March 16th. The confessional four-part documentary saw Lovato talk candidly about her highly-publicised battle with addiction and disordered eating.
Dancing With The Devil also came with the shocking revelation that Lovato is a victim of sexual assault. Over the course of the documentary, Lovato acknowledges that she was raped at age 15 by an unnamed actor, and again in 2018 by her drug dealer.
“You know what, fuck it, I’m just going to say it: My MeToo story is me telling somebody that someone did this to me and they never got in trouble for it,” Lovato shared. “They never got taken out of the movie they were in. But I’ve just kept it quiet because I’ve always had something to say, and I’m tired of opening my mouth, so there’s the tea.”
Demi Lovato went on to detail that she was sexually assaulted the day of her near-fatal overdose “I didn’t just overdose. I was taken advantage of,” Lovato said. “When they found me, I was naked, blue. I was literally left for dead after he took advantage of me.”
She continued, “I’ve had my fair share of sexual trauma throughout teenage, child years. When they found me, I was naked, I was blue. I was literally left for dead after he took advantage of me, and when I woke up in the hospital, they asked if I 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 actually wasn’t until maybe a month after my overdose that I realised, ‘Hey, you weren’t in any state of mind to make a consensual decision.’”
Lovato then revealed that a “similar situation” happened to her as a teenager — recounting an alleged rape that she experienced at age 15. “I lost my virginity in a rape. 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 recalled.
“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 anyway. I internalised it, I told myself it was my fault because I still went in the room with him. I still hooked up with him.”
Demi Lovato mused that the purity ring culture fostered amongst the Disney scene pressured her to stay silent about her assault.
“Here was the thing. I was part of that Disney crowd that publicly said they were waiting till marriage,” Lovato added.
“Then I had to see that person all the time, and 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.”
Elsewhere in the documentary, Lovato revealed that she is no longer sober, but practising using substances in moderation under guidance.
The first two episodes of Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil will premiere on YouTube March 23, with the remaining two episodes appearing weekly thereafter.