Singer and The Voice alum Melanie Martinez, 22, has released a second statement denying allegations of sexual assault, reports People. Earlier this month, her former friend Timothy Heller alleged that Martinez sexually assaulted her in June 2015.
Martinez's statement, which she posted to Twitter, reads: "I understand how hard it could be to see my side of the story, considering no one with a heart would want to invalidate anyone speaking up about this topic. I want to thank my fans who took the time to research the timeline, analyse past Instagram photos, and question the story being told, which reveal her false statements," Martinez wrote. "I trusted so many people in my life who took advantage of that trust for their own personal gain. Please know that my intentions with everything that I do in my life are always pure and I would never be intimate with someone without their absolute consent."
Her fans have used Instagram photos and other social media posts to try to cast doubt on Heller's story, under the Twitter hashtag #TimothyIsOverParty. Fans accuse Heller of lying because a date in her story may be incorrect based on an Instagram photo. Another fan pointed out that Heller posted a selfie of herself several months after the alleged assault, with the caption "I'm currently the happiest and healthiest I've even been" and questioning if Heller is sufficiently traumatised. They are also questioning her story because Heller has openly discussed having mental health issues.
Martinez also thanks her fans "who took the time to research the timeline, analyse past Instagram photos," apparently referencing the #TimothyIsOverParty hashtag. Heller has received a barrage of negative criticism and harassment on Twitter since sharing her story. On 10th December she wrote that "This is why victims don’t speak up. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone."
Heller initially published her account of the alleged sexual assault on Twitter on 4th December. She alleged that Martinez pressured her into sexual activity, and when Heller did not voice consent, Martinez performed oral sex on her and penetrated her with a sex toy. Heller described that Martinez had "broken her down," and that it does not matter and she "didn't resist during the action" because "she just wanted it to all be over."
In an interview with Newsweek, Heller said she was reluctant to come forward because "[Martinez's] fans see her as this angel who understands them." Heller chose to tell her story because "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." In the #MeToo movement, stories have mainly focused on cisgender male-on-cisgender female assault, but Heller's story is one of the first mainstream stories about alleged queer female violence.
Indeed, Heller also noted that the dynamics are complicated because of gender. "Girls can rape girls. Best friends can rape best friends. Friendship doesn’t equal consent. Silence doesn’t equal consent," she wrote in her Twitter story. In the Newsweek interview, Heller further elaborated that she "loved [Martinez] 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."
In her initial denial, posted on Twitter on 5th December, Martinez wrote that she was "horrified and saddened" about Heller's story. As we noted above, Martinez does not deny that sexual activity occurred between her and Heller, but said that Heller "never said no." Simply not saying no does not equal enthusiastic, willing consent. You can read both of Martinez's statements, as well as Heller's story, below.
Martinez does not have any further comment beyond her Twitter post at this time, per her representation. Refinery29 has also reached out to Heller for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.
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