Trigger warning: This article discusses sexual harassment and assault.
American singer-songwriter and former The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez, has this week faced the brunt of rape allegations levelled against her by former best friend, Timothy Heller. These serious allegations come as a stark reminder that women can most certainly be sexual predators too – a fact that has undoubtedly been lost in the recent naming and shaming of many high-powered males.
Posting to her Twitter account yesterday, Timothy Heller described an evening in which her former best friend Melanie Martinez initiated a tiresome onslaught of sexual harassment, that eventually led to her rape.
‘She began asking me while in bed if I would have sex with her. While being incredibly uncomfortable by this offer, I attempted to laugh it off. I had a boyfriend at this time, and she knew that. ‘He doesn’t have to know, it’s not a big deal!’ It went on for hours. Asking my WHY I didn’t want to, that it would be fun. I repeatedly said no.’
The harassment continued the following evening, with Martinez pestering Heller to breaking point,
‘She began talking about the appearance of my boobs and begged to JUST touch them. We didn’t have to do anything else. I was so exhausted and confused and high and belittled I just allowed it to happen. This lead to her touching the rest of me. I never said yes. I said no, repeatedly. But she used her power over me, and broke me down.’
Heller’s recount of her assault hits close to home, particularly in conjunction with the sheer magnitude of similar #metoo stories being shared not only by celebrities, but close friends and family. And yet as we unite against this widespread, malignant behaviour – we forget that women are capable of such monstrosity too.
‘If you begin to doubt the abuse taking place in this story, I beg you to image her role in this being a man. Girls can rape girls. Best friends can rape best friends. Friendship does not equal consent. Silence doesn’t equal consent. I wish it wasn’t so hard to convince myself of these things.’
Martinez acknowledged the allegations in a post to her Twitter account, stating that while she was ‘horrified and saddened by the statements’ she assured that Heller ‘never said no to what we chose to do together’.
— CRYBABY (@MelanieLBBH) December 5, 2017
Look, I’m not saying that Melanie did or did not commit these foul acts. I don’t want to throw stones, OR cast doubt on Heller’s statement. I do, however, think that we live in a really confusing time, whereby it’s both a blessing and a curse that through social media we can touch-type our thoughts. It’s repugnant to think that some individuals would take advantage of one’s celebrity and lie about allegations of this magnitude: not only due to the damage it can do to an innocent person’s reputation with one foul click, but also the proliferation of doubt in any given victim’s testament. Much like I am admittedly, and ashamedly, alluding to now.
It’s interesting, but in the midst of the #metoo revolution, Terry Crews’ allegations of sexual harassment hit harder than many other female victim’s recounts – is that because he is a man? Is it because he is a gigantic and almighty human being, and no one could possibly be stupid enough to grope him without consent? Why is it that we assume the assaulter or harasser is always a powerful, male figure? In Terry’s case; yes, he was indeed harassed by a man. However, what I’m most interested in is, why is the default mental identikit for a sexual deviant almost exclusively male?
Women can be equally, if not more, manipulative than men. Women can be equally as strong; and women can be equally, if not more, sexually deviant. Data collected by the US National Crime Victimisation Survey found that 35% of men who had been sexually assaulted reported at least one female perpetrator. Further, among the individuals who had been raped or sexually assaulted by a female, 58% of male victims and 51% of female victims reported that the incident had involved a violent attack (whereby the female perpetrator had hit, pushed down, or otherwise attacked the victim causing injury). Sexual assault isn’t exclusively perpetrated by either gender.
Instead, this unacceptable behaviour is deeply ingrained in society as a whole – and this quasi-gender war is only digging a deeper moat around an already sensitive issue. It’s time we stop blaming a whole gender for bad behaviour. Bad humans are bad humans, full bloody stop.
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