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The Voice star denies sexually assaulting female friend

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Amy Swales
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Melanie Martinez and Timothy Heller were once close friends – but now the latter has accused the former of sexual assault.

US The Voice star Melanie Martinez has denied sexually assaulting former friend Timothy Heller, following Heller’s allegations that Martinez “used her power” to force her into sex over a period of two nights in 2015.

Heller, also a singer, detailed her claims on Twitter on 4 December, saying Martinez repeatedly ignored her protests and performed oral sex on her, as well as penetrating her with a sex toy.

Saying she had “kept this secret for years”, Heller wrote that she was shocked and confused by the alleged actions of Martinez, someone she regarded as her “best friend”, and that the assault took place while Heller was personally at “rock bottom”.

Timothy Heller

“One night during a sleepover, she became increasingly interested in my sexual preferences. As someone who has previously been through sexual abuse, sex is hard for me to talk about,” Heller wrote.

“She began asking me while I was in bed if I would have sex with her […] I attempted to laugh it off.”

Heller continued: “It went on for hours. Asking me why I didn’t want to, that it would be fun. I repeatedly said no […] I said no and I thought we could move on. The next night unfortunately went the exact same way.”

Heller then says she smoked weed with Martinez, who appeared on The Voice in 2012, and that after “continuously trying to convince me […] I was so exhausted and confused and high and belittled I just allowed it to happen. This led to her touching the rest of me. I never said yes. I said no, repeatedly.”

She added: “We never talked about this night ever again. While it completely messed with my head, there was no way I could have been raped by my best friend, right?

“[…] Friendship does not equal consent.”

Martinez has denied the accusations, writing on Twitter: “I am horrified and saddened by the statements and story told tonight by Timothy Heller. What she and I shared was a close friendship for a period of time. We came into each other’s lives as we were both starting our careers as artists, and we tried to help each other.

“We both had pain in dealing with our individual demons and the new paths we were forging, but I truly felt we were trying to lift each other up. She never said no to what we chose to do together. And although we parted ways, I am sending her love and light always.”

Heller reiterated her claims in a subsequent interview with Newsweek. While some of Martinez’s fans have asked why she would apparently continue to be friends with someone who had attacked her, in the interview, Heller addresses the complexities of assault by a friend or family member.

“People don’t really talk about this,” Heller said. “But I know now that assault happens this way all the time. I loved her 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.”

She added: “We remained friends for a while, but it was strange, obviously. I think I was invalidating my own experience for so long because she’s not a man. Plus, she was my friend, and I sat with what happened in silence because I didn’t want to be malicious.”

Last month, Heller tweeted her reservations over sharing her story, writing: “What if I have my own story of abuse but I’m scared to ruin the person’s life and I still love them in a fucked up way and the public really really loves them and most probably wouldn’t believe me…”

If you or someone you know needs support relating to sexual assault or rape, you can visit Rape Crisis here or Victim Support here.

Images: Rex / Twitter

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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