Last month, Demi Lovato released her latest album, which included a song that quickly received the attention of fans and the media and spurred a powerful TikTok movement.
The lyrics in one of her latest releases, “29,” have been associated with her relationship with That 70’s Show, Wilmer Valderrama, when he was 29, and she was 17. In the song, Lovato, now 29, sings, “…finally, 29, 17 would never cross my mind. I thought it was a teenage dream, a fantasy, but it was yours; it wasn’t mine.” While Lavato has not explicitly named Valderrama, she describes the reckoning she experienced after turning 29 herself, and the inherent power imbalance that resides between that age gap.
Lavato’s song resonated with many across social media. Creators took to TikTok to reflect on romantic relationships they had in their youth. The song’s popularity quickly grew to a movement of people who, like Lavato, reflected on past abuse and grooming they experienced and how the imbalance of power and age in their relationship created unhealthy dynamics. In unhealthy relationships, we know boundaries get skewed, victims get manipulated, and oftentimes, consent is unclear due to gaps in age and maturity.
No matter how long it’s been since incidents of abuse, it’s never too late to get help and to heal. Here at Lauren’s Kids, we know the journey from victim to survivor is often three steps forward and two steps back, but with support and the help of a trauma counselor, children’s advocacy center, or sexual assault treatment center, you can not only survive – but thrive. Lauren’s Kids is honored to support survivors in their healing journeys by providing guidance, support, and resources.
Thank you to Demi for your courage and for progressing the much-needed cultural and societal conversation about consent, age, safety, and power imbalance in relationships. At least 20 percent of teens will become a victim of some form of abuse before graduating from high school. Though the stats are staggering, the solution is clear: we can empower others around us and prevent abuse through education, awareness, and using our voices to call for collective change.
To share your survivor story with us, visit https://laurenskids.org/awareness/survivor-stories/ and to get more information on Lauren’s Kids’ one-of-a-kind resources that helps survivors on their healing journey, visit https://laurenskids.org/resources/from-victim-to-survivor-and-thriver/.