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Not every story is the same
Accusations against Melanie Martinez raise awareness that women must also be held accountable for sexual harassment.
February 2, 2018
On Dec. 4, Timothy Heller, an aspiring artist, shared the story of her sexual assault on Twitter. The post went viral, receiving over 50,000 retweets within the first eight hours of it being on the social media platform. Pop singer Melanie Martinez was accused as the sexual actor within the post, which brings forth an issue that is not often discussed. It is necessary to shine light on the fact that women can sexually assault people too, and this issue, although often perpetrated by men, is not one-sided.
As seen within the recent news of the sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, just to name a few, it is difficult to also acknowledge Melanie Martinez as another individual accused. This is widely due to the stigmatization behind men and rape. This is in no way meant to break this barrier as men are most commonly the perpetrators, coming in as the cause of 93 percent of sexual assault cases. This is meant to showcase that the bond between two women, or anyone let alone best friends, does not make harassment any less real.
As indicated by Heller, “The thought of accepting that my best friend raped me seems insane. Even typing that doesn’t feel real to me.” Heller indicated co-dependency between her and Melanie Martinez at the time, that took a terrible turn after a two-night sleepover.
According to Rape Response services, “Popular culture, things like books, movies and television, makes it seem like rape only happens a certain way. In reality, there are many different ways perpetrators use sexual violence to hurt their victims and there are many different ways in which people respond to sexual violence. For example, popular culture tells us a victim of rape will always fight back, but this is not the case.” This makes it all the more important to acknowledge that silence does not mean consent, and that rape and assault can occur between confidants.
The simplicity of differentiating between what is rape and what is not rape is consent, and as far as both Heller and Martinez have spoken out, there was none.
Martinez responded to the allegation with, “She never said no to what we chose to do together.”
It is necessary to broaden perspectives on how rape occurs and who it happens to. The idea of “allowing it to happen” becomes a matter of vulnerability and disbelief. As Heller wrote, “ It is hard to say that someone you loved raped you.” Contrary to popular belief, 70 percent of sexual harassment is done by someone close to the victim. Rape culture that has restricted stereotypes to only men harassing women need to stop, as does rape culture as whole and in any generality. The possibilities are a lot more broad, and it often times a lot harder to accuse a woman of a crime that men are associated with.
As Heller has stated it is necessary to acknowledge that “Girls can rape girls. Best friends can rape best friends. Friendship doesn’t equal consent. Silence doesn’t equal consent.”