Though former The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez is far from the first woman to be accused of sexual abuse, she has become the first to be named as part of the #MeToo movement.
Former friend and fellow musician Timothy Heller accuses Melanie Martinez of rape, and detailed her allegations of the assault in a post that we imagine must have been profoundly difficult to write.
And now, in an interview, Timothy is revealing more.
Timothy Heller posted her accusation against Melanie Martinez, including many details.
She describes a time in her life when she was entirely dependent upon Martinez. From her description, it sounds as though their relationship was unhealthy before the alleged sexual assault took place.
Timothy (who, yes, is a woman named Timothy) described spending two nights in a row shooting down sexual advances from Martinez, who ultimately got her high and then continued to pressure her.
Despite having said no and also protesting that she had a boyfriend, Timothy says that she finally assented to allow Martinez to touch her arm and breasts but nothing else.
She says that Martinez took it further, despite her saying “no” multiple times, molesting her, performing oral sex on her without her consent, and penetrating her with an object.
What she describes is rape, folks.
(This is a photo of Timothy and Melanie, taken back in 2014)
Before Timothy Heller ever came forward with her full story about Melanie Martinez, she tweeted:
“What if I have my own story of abuse but I’m scared to ruin the person’s life and I still love them in a f–ked up way and the public really really loves them.”
She didn’t name any names or even hint, but, as she tells Newsweek, Melanie Martinez tried to contact her just 20 minutes after she sent out the tweet.
“I started sobbing when I saw [Melanie] was calling me, and I blocked her.”
She describes that as her first time “hearing from” Martinez in over a year. She also tried to contact Heller’s boyfriend.
Then, in text messages (which Newsweek also viewed), Martinez said that she had “dreamed about” Timothy Heller recently — explaining that this, in fact, was why she was reaching out to her.
She also suggested the name of a “healer” named Raven.
Timothy Heller wasn’t buying it:
“Suggesting a healer after I said I might tell my story, saying she dreamt about me, it’s condescending.”
Among other things.
“What, she’s invested in my well-being all of a sudden? And it has nothing to do with that tweet?”
(This is a photo of Melanie from 2015, on the night in question)
Timothy Heller explains why, for two years, she was so reluctant to come forward:
“Her fans see her as this angel who understands them.”
(I don’t know that I’ve ever met a Melanie Martinez fan, ever, in my life, but I’ll take Heller’s word for it)
“So I assumed no one was going to take me seriously if I explained what she did.”
It is all too common — almost universal — for survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse to doubt that their claims will be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, it’s all too often that they’re right. How many #MeToo stories have involved people’s friends or managers telling them to keep quiet?
“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.”
It does, but we understand her hangups.
“People don’t really talk about this.”
So many people still have this image of sexual assault being something that happens to women who jog alone or during a home invasion. Those can happen, but the vast majority of sex abuse is perpetrated by those you know, trust, or even love.
“But I know now that assault happens this way all the time.”
“I loved her even after it happened, and I had this sick need to protect her, which I’ve learned is very common for victims of assault, especially those hurt by their family or friends.”
“We remained friends for a while, but it was strange, obviously. I think I was invalidating my own experience for so long because she’s not a man.”
It’s said that something in the area of 10% of sexual predators are women. Too often, their crimes are not taken seriously by the public.
“Plus, she was my friend, and I sat with what happened in silence because I didn’t want to be malicious.”
Some people are silenced because they feel like speaking out is somehow “bad manners.” Accusing a sexual predator doesn’t make you the bad guy. Kind of the opposite, actually.
Heller reveals that Melanie Martinez ultimately ended their friendship with an unceremonious text message:
“I just can’t have anything stopping me or distracting me from getting where I need to get,” Martinez texted. “I don’t have time to have those distracting things in my life. The next couple of years are pretty crucial for me and I need to focus.”
Timothy Heller explains it like this:
“She saw some psychic who told her she had to cut people out of her life if she wanted to win a Grammy.”
Some people are especially anxious about coming forward with accusations regarding same-sex assaults.
While it’s good to be conscious of anti-gay stigma (there are still people who eagerly portray LGBT people as predators who want to “convert” children), there are important things to remember.
One: Rape is rape. It is always evil.
Two: When we’re talking about someone like Kevin Spacey and his alleged assaults, spanning decades, remember that Anthony Rapp is an out gay actor. It’s often (though not always) the case that an gay predator’s victims are likely to be gay themselves.
So calling out a rapist isn’t homophobic.
Shout-out to Timothy Heller for sharing her story with the world. That cannot have been easy, but it was profoundly brave.