TW: Rape and Sexual Assault
With Harvey Weinstein being exposed by over 50 women, and the #MeToo movement trending worldwide, people have been quick to universally attack alleged abusers and give them a piece of their minds… unless, of course, those alleged abusers were female. When women are accused of sexual assault, many people hesitate to believe the stories of victims because of the common myth that “women can’t rape” or that their favorites are immune to committing such horrid actions.
Let’s look at two recent problematic examples:
When I wrote this story about my assault, I initially wasn’t going to make the abuser. But I think it’s important for you all to know this is about Melanie Martinez pic.twitter.com/4PQ5oNI2s9
— Timothy Heller (@timethyheller) December 4, 2017
A singer and former contestant of The Voice was accused of rape by her former best friend, Timothy Heller, yesterday. Timothy acknowledges, “The thought of accepting that my best friend raped me seems insane… It’s hard to say someone you loved raped you.” Later on, in the statement, she talks about how she hit the lowest point of her life, “I can honestly say she let me down completely… Her power and control grew and grew. And I was silenced… I was made to feel guilty.”
Melanie Martinez is accused of using her power and social status to silence her best friend, allegedly making Heller apologize for having a panic attack “because it ruined her (Martinez’s) night.” While many people responded with love and compassion for Heller, there were countless others who decided to victim blame.
Melanie Martínez remains innocent because there has been no trial, and no actual evidence. I will not take some random girl on the internet for her word, anybody could say these things. Love you Mel ❣️❣️❣️
— tyson (@tysonMCRF) December 5, 2017
"I feel so bad for being raped, that I'll post it on twitter instead of going to court, I'll also promote my music, so they'll listen to it and that way I'll feel much better"
— Little body big heart (@ConstanzaGuada5) December 5, 2017
— nic |-/ (@heavydirtynic) December 5, 2017
— i will still love and support melanie martinez. hate me. i dont fucking care. #MelanieMartinez ;;
— Erika Lerit (@kkangi_LBBH) December 5, 2017
The problem with many of these responses is that they all point to Heller as the problem instead of Martinez. Quite a few fans who idolize Martinez claim that no one should be so quick to believe Heller if the police/courts haven’t been involved. Others are saying Heller is trying to gain momentum for her newly released single. To both of those claims, Joshua Goodson, a good friend of Timothy, offered an insightful, eloquent response.
— Joshua Goodson (@joshuanimal) December 5, 2017
All of the victim-blaming is atrocious for two reasons: 1) It scares other victims away from sharing their stories (promoting rape culture) and 2) puts Martinez on a pedestal as if she could do no wrong. But the overarching flaw in most of the logic is that Twitter stans don’t know the real Melanie in her personal life; they know a celebrity.
She is obviously capable of doing wrong — we all are. Melanie even admitted herself that what Timothy claims happened, actually did occur, in some fashion or another. In her statement on Twitter, Melanie addressed “she never said no to what we chose to do together.” If Timothy had made it all up, wouldn’t Melanie have said that her accusation is baseless? Instead, Melanie used an infamous tactic rapists are known to use, pinning the blame on the victim for “not saying no,” as if that means they said yes/gave consent.
can't believe there are actual PEOPLE out there defending Melanie Martinez bc the sexual assault claim does not fall into the ridiculous "stereotypical" rape case that surprisingly still exists in 2017 to some people pic.twitter.com/GpPA1NGzuq
— Lauren (@ourpaulson) December 5, 2017
Melanie Martinez confirmed that Timothy's story is real, and yet people are STILL telling Timothy she isn't a rape victim because she didn't fight back despite the fact that she was intoxicated and said no. WOMEN CAN BE RAPISTS AND SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TOO.
— AmburgerBuns (@AmburgerBuns) December 5, 2017
FYI Melanie Martinez deserves the exact same treatment and backlash as any man who sexually assaults someone. She does not get to be excused because she is a woman. She’s just as guilty.
— spencer claus (@spxncxrx) December 5, 2017
Over the years, Lena Dunham has apologized for many things (check out: “A Brief History of Lena Dunham Apologizing”). However, one of those things she hasn’t apologized for was molesting her sister. While many people have tried to play it off as psychological exploration or curiosity, if a man had done what she revealed she’s done, he would be persecuted.
A quote from her book, Not That Kind of Girl, about bribing her sister, “As she grew, I took to bribing her… Three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds… Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.”
Here’s the Lena Dunham “sexual predator” joke, in case yall thought it was made up. pic.twitter.com/XmMUQD1OuK
— Dianna E. Anderson (@diannaeanderson) November 1, 2014
Dunham even compares herself to a sexual predator and people still want to defend her. Doctors explain how this is normal behavior for children, “normal sexual behavior for children ages 2 to 6 include… trying to look at or touch peer or new sibling genitals.” While this is true, one cannot ignore that this is extremely disturbing, regardless. If a man did this, people all over social media would be raging about it and calling him out — Dunham should be no different. The fact that there are still some people willing to support Dunham and defend her for her disgusting actions is a problem.
“Do I think what Lena Dunham did to her sister was sexual assault? Yes. And to those of you who have defended her heinous actions, YOUR voice is silencing to many commenters who openly discussed their own experiences of incest, sexual assault,” wrote the founder of Facebook group Guerilla Feminism.
Lena Dunham molested her sister. In her book she calls it curiosity. There is no outrage because, white woman.
— Hillary Spanx (@_ItsMissBre) November 1, 2014
Some supporters are willing to excuse the actions of their faves because they think they can do no wrong. In the end, anyone can be an abuser no matter what age, gender identity, or sexuality. No one should be excused just because of their notoriety. And no victims should be blamed for their abuse.