Loren Gray opened up to her 43 million TikTok followers yesterday by detailing her experience with sexual assault in a powerful and uplifting post.
"I want to tell you my real story," the 18-year-old singer and social media personality started.
Beginning with a photo of her younger self, Gray shared her journey: "This is me, over five years ago, not long before my 13th birthday. At this time, I had my innocence stolen from me in the basement of someone I trusted. I only told one person and to this day she remains my best friend. We cried in my bathroom together for hours."
"I struggled to put the pieces together as to why this had happened to me," she continued. "It took two months for me to finally tell my parents. I felt dirty, hopeless, broken and worthless. I was confused and scared. I felt like it was my fault."
Gray then outlined how the incident affected her sense of self—and how becoming a social media star brought her joy, but also undeserved shame and aggression.
"I was homeschooled and began making videos to pass the time and ease some of the loneliness and isolation I had felt," she said. "People were watching my videos and although I was still struggling, I felt like I had finally found people who cared, regardless of my situation. Although, every now and then the comments and questions would be too much. 'She looks like a whore.' 'Are you a virgin?'"
She continued, "I was always afraid to tell people my story, fearing people would view me differently and I would lose those I cared about. I'm 18 now and I've realized that my past does not define me. It was never my fault and I never deserved it. I came out stronger and I'm so proud of myself. There is light at the end of the tunnel and if my story can help even ONE person, then to me it's a story worth telling."
TW. when I say you have helped me more than you know, I truly mean it.? original sound - marbarboyce
In a follow-up post to Twitter, Gray addressed her fans in a statement about the revelation—and why she decided to share it when she did.
"Just wanted to say I'm sorry for not being online much today," Gray said. "It's been really difficult for me to share this part of my life in such a public way. I received a message that somehow someone knew. But I know how fast word travels and I wanted to be the one to tell my story."
Fortunately, Gray did see a silver lining in sharing her own trauma.
"I'm overwhelmed by the amount of support and love that I have felt today," she explained. "But it also breaks my heart how often this happens. I"m very lucky that i have such supportive friends and family, who never judged or placed blame. I'm very grateful. Although I was forced to grow up quickly and lost a part of me in the process, I wouldn't change anything about my life, every experience I've had has taught me something. Although I hate that I felt forced into sharing this prematurely, I have no regrets because I am no longer ashamed."
Gray explained that she decided to post these messages in text form because it's still difficult for her to talk about out loud, but that's felt an enormous amount of love since opening up to the world.
"I started making videos to cope with the feelings of isolation and loneliness. my life truly changed when you all came into it. For the first time I had felt love, as if my past had been erased and no longer defined me," she concluded. "So when I say you give me purpose and helped me through the darkest times in my life, I meant it from the bottom of my heart. I hope that this can shed some light on the gravity of sexual assault and provide some hope for anyone who can relate. Love you all so much. Thank you for listening."