Loren Gray is sharing her "real story" with fans.
In a TikTok posted on Friday, the 18-year-old singer and social media star emotionally revealed she had been sexually assaulted about five years earlier, when she was 12.
"This is me, over five years ago, not long before my 13th birthday," she began her story, alongside a photo of herself as a preteen. "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," Gray said. "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."
The Pennsylvania native said because of those feelings, she was homeschooled, and "began making videos to pass the time and ease some of the loneliness and isolation I had felt." "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," she recalled. "Although, every now and then the comments and questions would be too much. 'She looks like a whore.' 'Are you a virgin?'"
Gray said she was "always afraid" to reveal her sexual assault and thought people would look at her differently. Now, however, she's 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," she said.
Gray, who is the second-most followed person on TikTok with over 42 million followers, reflected on sharing her story in an emotional note on Twitter. She called the decision to open up about her past assault difficult, and said she decided to come forward after receiving a message that "somehow someone knew."
"i did not know how fast word travels and i wanted to be the one to tell my story," she explained.
"i'm overwhelmed by the amount of support and love that I have felt today. 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," Gray continued. "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 about myself. this one taught me how strong i truly am, and how much i'm capable of overcoming."
"although i hate that i felt forced into sharing this prematurely, i have no regrets because i am no longer ashamed," she said. "it's still hard for me to talk about however, which is why i'm choosing to write instead of make a video."
Gray went on, thanking her fans for giving her purpose and helping her "through the darkest times in my life."
"i hope that this can shed some light on the gravity of sexual assault, and provide some hope for anyone who can relate," she concluded. "love you all so much. thank you for listening."
See more on Gray in the video below.
If you or someone you know would like to speak with someone who is trained to help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit https://www.rainn.org/