TikTok star Loren Gray spoke out about being a survivor of childhood sexual assault over the weekend.
The social media star, who is now 18, revealed in a heartfelt video posted on Friday that she was sexually assaulted at the age of 12 “in the basement of someone I trusted.”
“This is me, over five years ago, not long before my 13th birthday,” she began her post, alongside a montage of photos of herself as a pre-teen. “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.”
Gray discussed the emotional fallout from the traumatic experience.
“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 went on to say that the trauma led to her being homeschooled, at which point she began making videos and sharing them online to help with the “loneliness and isolation” that she was experiencing. She added, “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?’”
It wasn’t until she was 18 that she was able to overcome her fear of sharing her story, she explained.
“I was always afraid to tell people my story, fearing people would view me differently and I would lose those I cared about,” she said in the video, alongside more current photos of herself. “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.”
She then explained why she chose to speak out publicly about the assault.
“I came out stronger and I'm so proud of myself,” she continued. “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.”
Gray has more than 42 million followers on TikTok, making her the second most-followed user on the platform. Since it was posted, her video has been liked more than 2 million times and has garnered nearly 60K comments.
Gray took to Twitter on Friday night to thank her followers for their support and elaborate on what inspired her to share her story with the world for the first time.
“It’s been really difficult to for me to share this part of my life in such a public way,” reads a post captioned, “Thank you.” “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.”
She went on to say that she is grateful for the support of her loved ones, and hopes that by speaking out, others who have had similar experiences can find a sense of hope.
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