The list of sex abusers reads like a who’s who of powerful dudes. Until it didn’t.
Singer Melanie Martinez has been accused of sex assault by a former friend, who claims to have “repeatedly said no” to her sexual advances.
Timothy Heller, a Los Angeles-based aspiring singer, came forward with the allegations late Monday, sharing her story on Twitter about how she said Martinez, an artist who shot to stardom after appearing on NBC’s “The Voice,” sexually assaulted her.
This came out on the twitters, when Heller told the story of how Martinez, her best friend and the person who “saved her life,” turned the relationship sexual.
“I never said yes. I said no, repeatedly. But she used her power over me, and broke me down,” she said. “Just so there is no confusion, I was molested by my best friend.”
After multiple attempts to touch her, Martinez proceeded to perform “oral sex on me and then I was penetrated with a sex toy without being asked,” the woman alleged. “She knew I didn’t want to, I made that clear,” noting that she was “completely not reciprocating.”
Did any of this happen? Did it happen the way Heller claims? Will it ever be subject to scrutiny, as it would be if a complaint was filed, investigated, prosecuted and subject to the rigors of due process?
It was all good fun when it was directed at toxic masculinity. After all, haven’t women been oppressed enough? Don’t they deserve their opportunity to hurl the accusations for every pain they’ve harbored inside for years at the men who hurt them? But what if it’s not just men? What if it’s not just toxic masculinity?
Martinez responded to the allegations on Monday, writing on social media that although she’s “horrified” by the allegations, Heller “never said no to what we chose to do together.”
“No”? Remember when “no means no” morphed into affirmative consent. Sex apparently happened, but Martinez says it was consensual. That’s what some of the men said as well, though not Al Franken.
But as John Oliver demanded of Dustin Hoffman, “You’ve given no evidence to show that it didn’t happen.” Where’s the proof that it didn’t happen as the accuser claimed?
There was a period of time when you were creeping around women. It feels like a cop-out to say, ‘Well, this isn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
Hoffman fired back, “You weren’t there.”
“I’m glad,” Oliver said.
“You’ve put me on display here,” Hoffman told Oliver at one point. “You have indicted me … That’s not ‘innocent until proven guilty.’”
The basic precepts of our jurisprudence no longer apply to accusations of rape, sexual assault and harassment. Then again, these aren’t happening in the context of a criminal prosecution, so why should they? Trial by twitter was never meant to provide the accused with the opportunity to respond. Proving the negative isn’t usually possible, no matter how easy it may be to claim that a rape happened.
Remember the years of repeating the tropes that false accusations almost never happen? That one in five (or some permutation of the claim) women are sexually abused? Few of us got too bent out of shape when the narratives were perpetuated for the purpose of burning men for every hurt ever felt by a woman, but every false narrative eventually spreads. When the mob runs out of male witches to burn, then female witches will have to do.
Did singer Melanie Martinez engage in rape, because Timothy Heller failed to say yes? Beats me, but we’ve now seen the accusation and her denial, and neither will be tested. The deeply passionate inform me they’re entitled to their opinions on guilt, and to demand the execution of whomever the mob decides needs killin’.
But this time, you can’t blame it on toxic masculinity. What will the narrative have to say now?
H/T B. McLeod