Melanie Martinez has released her much anticipated second album and film K-12 and it’s been met with positive reviews from critics and fans alike. But has everyone forgotten that Melanie was accused of rape just a few ago?
To refresh your memory, in December 2017, Melanie’s former friend Timothy Heller came forward and accused Melanie of sexually assaulting her. She tweeted,
“I have kept this secret for years, convincing myself that it wasn’t a big deal and I wasn’t hurt by it. The thought of accepting that my best friend raped me seems insane. The power she had over me grew into me having a hard time saying ‘no’ to her.”
Timothy chronicles in great detail the two-night ordeal in which Melanie asked her about her sexual orientation and begged Timothy to have sex with her. On both nights, Timothy repeatedly told Melanie no, but the “Pity Party” singer persisted.
“‘Can I just touch your boobs?’ She began bartering with me. All I wanted to do was go to sleep… I lay still, in shock, completely not reciprocating. She performed oral sex on me and then I was penetrated with a sex toy without being asked. I said no. For two nights straight. It didn’t matter that I didn’t resist during the action. I had been broken down.”
As soon as Heller spoke out, Martinez’s fans swarmed her Twitter page, attacking and victim-blaming her. One Twitter user said,
“And you didn’t force her off you even if it was true. That’s on you.”
Others asked Timothy why she didn’t initially go to the police — a gaslighting statement survivors often hear — and some even asked her if she had any evidence to prove her allegations.
As for Melanie, she responded with a brief statement and said,
“I am horrified and saddened by the statements and story told by Timothy Heller. What she and I shared was a close friendship. We tried to help each other. We both had pain in dealing with our individual demons… She never said no to what we chose to do together. And although we parted ways, I am sending her love and light always.”
Does Melanie really think that just because Timothy didn’t say “no” that means that she wanted to have sex with her? We all know that silence does not equal consent. Timothy told her “no” multiple times and, given her recollection of that night, it’s clear that Timothy was coerced.
Melanie then took things a step further by not condemning her fans for attacking Timothy and even thanked them for questioning Timothy’s story further pushing the narrative that Timothy’s story was false.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time Melanie coerced someone into having sex. Shortly after Timothy came forward, a second victim and former friend Madeleine Carina shared her experience on Twitter.
“Something similar (not r*pe) happened w/ me and Mel. She begged me over and over again to sleep with her n I finally gave in. She wore me down. I said yes. But it was not the same with Timothy. I will support @timothyheller till the end.”
Despite the bullying, Timothy had no regrets on speaking out. After telling her story, she said,
“Last night was rough but id like to say, I do NOT regret speaking up, and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Just because this is hard, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing to do. No one should be silenced, and I know that talking about this was an important thing to do. ily guys.”
Over the past few years, many powerful people have been accused of sexual assault and rape. According to Vox, Melanie is one of the 263 people who have been named since April 2017. And she just happens to be the only woman.
When we think of rape, a female perpetrator doesn’t always come to mind. It’s rarely talked about and statistics are hard to come by. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. But even when it is talked about, it’s not taken seriously, a fact that Timothy was fully aware of.
In an interview with Newsweek, Timothy said,
“Her fans see her as this angel who understands them, so I assumed no one was going to take me seriously if I explained what she did. I’ve been reading all the #metoo stories, and though I’m obviously in support of the people coming forward, I wasn’t sure if my story of being assaulted fit… I think I was invalidating my own experience for so long because she’s not a man.”
Unlike others who have been accused of sexual misconduct, Melanie never had to face many consequences for her actions. Instead of being canceled, she was able to go on hiatus for a few years while she worked on her album. And now, it’s as if the allegations never happened. When it was announced last October that she was finally releasing her album, fans rallied behind her. One user wrote,
Another told her,
“let’s just leave that in 2017.”
For victims like Timothy and Madeleine, what happened to them can’t be “left behind”. Melanie’s album is quickly climbing the charts while Timothy has been bullied into silence. How can we expect other victims to come forward when they are constantly being doubted?
Survivors like Timothy are continuously questioned about the validity of their stories and why they didn’t do things differently. In the climate of the #MeToo movement, it’s imperative that we believe all survivors, as false reports are extremely rare and only make up 2% of allegations.
Melanie shouldn’t get a pass just because she’s not a gross old man. Though she didn’t physically overpower her victims, she did so mentally, wearing them down until she finally got what she wanted. We can’t pick and choose who we hold accountable based on how much we love their artistry, or because we can’t picture them doing something so heinous. Believing and supporting survivors needs to take precedence over the love we have for an artist.
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Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.