Toria Sheffield
December 06, 2017 1:12 pm

On Monday, December 4th, singer Timothy Heller came forward to accuse her former friend and “The Voice” contestant Melanie Martinez of rape. Heller alleges that Martinez pressured her into having non-consensual sex over the course of two days.

Heller and Martinez apparently met at a show in which they both performed in 2014 and soon became close friends — even though Heller openly admits that the power dynamic was unbalanced and that she had a hard time saying no to Martinez.

One night, Martinez invited Heller to her home for a two-night sleepover, and proceeded to make unwanted sexual advances.

In screenshots of several Notes posted to Twitter, Heller wrote that Martinez initially began questioning her about her sexual preferences and attempted to make physical contact — which Heller says she at first refused and laughed off. However, the next night, Martinez allegedly asked Heller to get high with her. She then continued to pressure and push her friend for hours. Heller wrote,

Heller wrote that she’s coming forward with her story to remind others that, “Girls can rape girls. Best friends can rape best friends. Friendship does not equal consent.”

Martinez has since responded to the accusations via Twitter, writing,

Regardless of what happened that night, Heller makes a critical point: Rape and sexual assault can and does happen between friends — and it can also happen among women. We must always take accusations seriously and ensure the person accused is held accountable, no matter who they are. Furthermore, not only does no always mean no, but someone not pushing or shoving you during the act doesn’t mean it’s consensual. Several states now even have “affirmative consent” laws in development, meaning that just not saying no is not enough to serve as consent — both parties must actively say yes.

Heller’s post brings up several critical points in the conversation on sexual assault, and we thank her for speaking out. We stand with her — and all victims — of sexual abuse.