Last month, Schuman wrote a blog post alleging that the Backstreet Boy raped her when she was 18, while she was a member of the pop group Dream. She explained in the post that she'd decided to come forward after seeing another woman's statements to RadarOnline about Carter allegedly assaulting her.
Carter issued a statement to various media outlets in which he said he thought the encounter was consensual.
"I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual," Carter's statement reads. "We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm."
Now, Schuman is appearing on The Dr. Oz Show — and she wants viewers to know that she forgives the boy bander for what allegedly happened.
"I don't want anything from you. I wish you only the best," Schuman said during Friday's episode of The Dr. Oz Show, after Dr. Oz asked what she wanted to say to Carter. "I don't want your money. I didn't do this to hurt you or your family. I did this for me, because I needed this healing, and I also came forward because I want to inspire… other people who have been assaulted to come forward and know that they have a voice."
Schuman also explained why she didn't go public with the allegations earlier.
"I'd actually confided in my manager at that time about pressing charges. And I was told that [Carter] had the most powerful litigator in the country and that I didn't have the money to pay for an attorney to essentially defend me, if he were to come after me," Schuman said. "My manager told me, 'You know you're trying to build a name for yourself right now, everyone's going to call you fame hungry, that you're trying to use this to better yourself or get your name out there, and at this point, there's nothing we can do.' ... I remember telling him, 'Oh, so that's it… he just gets away with it?!'"
Schuman also mentioned Harvey Weinstein and the recent string of allegations against powerful figures in the entertainment industry. Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, including multiple women who allege that he raped them. In addition to Weinstein, plenty of other figures in the industry, including Kevin Spacey and Russell Simmons, have been accused of sexual misconduct.
In the interview with Dr. Oz, the former Dream singer said that carrying the truth with her was affecting her "mentally and emotionally and spiritually." But seeing other women's strength with the Weinstein allegations inspired her to share her own story. Schuman's statements are part of a bigger reckoning in the entertainment world. It's not just Hollywood, either — hundreds of women in Sweden recently signed an open letter about sexual misconduct in the music industry. Hopefully these stories of courage give other survivors of assault and harassment the power to come forward with their own stories.
A rep for Carter didn't immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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