I am about to share something that I’ve wanted to pretend never happened since I was 18. A burden I thought I’d have to carry for the rest of my life and suffer in silence.
For those who do read this story, I know will ask, like any other victim of rape or assault, why I never came forward earlier. And the truth is, I tried.
A short amount of time passed after the incident, I confided in my then manager, Nils Larsen, that I wanted to come forward. He heard me out and said he would do some investigation and would try to find me a good attorney as I intended to press charges.
He later informed me that my abuser, who’s name I will disclose later in this article, had the most powerful litigator in the country.
He was right. I didn’t have the money, the clout or access to an attorney who was powerful enough to stand up against my abuser’s legal counsel. I was told I would likely be buried in humiliation, accused of being fame hungry, and it would ultimately hurt me professionally as well as publicly.
I was focused on building a career and name for myself at the time and I didn’t want what he did to further affect my life and future.
Let’s rewind a bit. The first time I met my abuser wasn’t the first time the abuse occurred. The first time we spoke was briefly over the phone while I was filming “This Is Me Remix” music video with my group DREAM and then boss, P. Diddy.
My abuser was and still is, in a very well known boyband. My label informed me that this person’s rep had reached out to them and he shown romantic interest in me and would like to set up a chat over the phone.
My label reps sat in on the call, anticipating a spark between the two of us. I was already dating someone steadily at the time. I was transparent with my then boyfriend about the call and assured him I had no interest but needed to at least accept his call out of respect and courtesy to my label.
I took the phone call. He was very polite and the conversation was quick.
Fast forward a few years later. He and I were casted in the same made for T.V movie.
I was no longer in a relationship and now single. My first impression of him, he was kind and charismatic so when he asked if I’d like to hang out with him and his friend at his Santa Monica apartment on our off day of shooting, I said yes. I invited my roommate to come with me.
That evening my friend and I arrived to a barely furnished apartment. No dining room furniture, No living room furniture. Just a TV and a game console which both the guys were playing on.
My abuser, 22, provided liquor for the get together and asked us what we would like to drink. We all took a shot and proceeded to the living room to play some video games. This wasn’t a crazy house party, just a casual hangout. We were laughing, talking, nothing out of the norm.
Soon after, he asked me if I would like to come into his office and listen to some new music he was working on. I agreed and was eager to hear his new music.
I could draw a diagram of the layout of this apartment. Barely there furniture throughout with the exception of the office. He took my hand and led me down the hallway to the office. He went to his computer and started to play the music he was working on, he turned off the light and we sat there in the computer light listening to his new stuff. And naturally we started to kiss. He was aware that I was a virgin and that I held to religious conservative christian values. I was vocal about this. Everyone knew about this, including those who repped me.
Now this is where things take a turn and gets graphic. I want to warn you that what I will be disclosing next describes graphic, violent sexual behavior. Please continue reading at your own discretion.
After kissing for a moment, he took my hand and brought me into the bathroom adjacent to his office. He shut the door and we continued to kiss. I asked him what we were doing in there. He didn’t respond and continued to kiss me. He then pick me up, put me on the bathroom counter and started to unbutton my pants. I told him I didn’t want to go any further.
He didn’t listen.
He didn’t care.
He told me, “don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.”
I told him thats not why I didn’t want to do it. He took off my pants anyway and then proceeded to perform oral sex on me. I told him to stop, but he didn’t. So I turned off the bathroom light so I wouldn’t see anything. He kept turning the light back on because he told me he wanted to look at me. I remember thinking at that point that maybe after this he will just stop, but he didn’t.
Someone in the house knocked on the bathroom door. So he took me into the other bathroom to pick up where he left off. He then took off his pants. I will never forget this moment. There was a bathroom nightlight so although it was dark, it was dimly lit enough for me to see myself in the bathroom mirror. He sat himself on the bathroom counter and asked me to perform oral sex on him. I declined, he was upset. He told me,
“I did it for you and it’s only right you do it for me.”
I felt scared and trapped. He was visually and clearly growing very angry and impatient with me. I couldn’t leave. It was evident to me, that i couldn’t leave. He was stronger and much bigger than me, and there was no way I would be able to open that door or have anyone help me. My friend couldn’t help me, I didn’t even know where she was. So when he placed my hand on his penis my thought was the only way to get out was to get him to finish what he had started. That’s where I saw myself, my reflection, watching myself do something that I was sicken by. Watching myself be assaulted, forced to engage in an act against my will.
Same as before his appetite was still not satisfied and now took me to the bedroom. It was late. The apartment was now dark and all you could hear was the remaining music in the living room. He threw me on the bed and climbed on top of me. Again, I told him that I was a virgin and I didn’t want to have sex. I told him that I was saving myself for my future husband. I said it over and over again. He whispered in my ear as to entice me,
“I could be your husband.”
He was relentless, refusing to take my no’s for an answer. He was heavy, too heavy to get out from under him. Then I felt it, he put something inside of me. I asked him what it was and he whispered in my ear once more,
“it’s all me baby.”
It was done. The one thing I had held as a virtue had been ruined. I went limp, turned my head to my left and decided I would just go to sleep now. I wanted to believe it was some sort of nightmare I was dreaming up.
The sun began to come up and my roommate came into the room and woke me up. We had to get home because she had work later that morning. My abuser was nowhere to be found. He was no longer on the bed and I never went looking for him. I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. I grabbed my things and my friend and I proceeded to the car.
Once in the car, she turned on the ignition and exclaimed,
“That was so much fun, huh?!”
“I just want to go home. I’m tired. I just want to go to sleep.”
I didn’t tell her. I didn’t want to even admit what happened was real to myself. Over the next few weeks I withdrew further and further from my friends and family and they noticed. I still didn’t tell anyone.
Shortly after he called me. He called me over and over and over again and I wouldn’t pick up. I didn’t want to hear his voice. He jammed my phone with calls for weeks, leaving me messages demanding I speak with him. Then he finally left me one last nasty, angry message and he never called me again.
It was over, at least I thought it was. I thought I’d never have to see or hear from him ever again. Until, I later signed with his manager, Kenneth Crear. Kenneth Crear was a very powerful manager who I thought could help me make my mark as a recording artist.
I quickly learned that Kenneth was thick as thieves with my abuser. Like family. I wondered what story or narrative my abuser might have told Kenneth of our once brief encounter. Did he know anything? I certainly wasn’t going to tell him.
Kenneth set up a showcase for me for a major label. We recorded a few songs, one of them was a duet with my abuser. We never recorded together. He had pre-recorded his part and I went in and recorded mine. Again, what was I supposed to do? I could’t tell my manager that his best friend had raped me so I won’t record this song.
I tried to justify that maybe something good to come out of something very bad. Maybe this song might help me get signed as a solo artist and I could move on and put everything behind me. Kenneth asked my abuser if he would be willing to sing the duet with me live at my showcase and he agreed.
I wasn’t surprised that he did. He knew this way I couldn’t avoid him anymore. The day of the showcase, he arrived. I waited quietly and anxiously backstage bracing myself for the confrontation. We stood next to each other in awkward silence. He was irritated with my lack of warm welcome and appreciation for the favor he was doing for me.
“How have you been?”
“I have a boyfriend.”
“Good for you. I hope it works out.”
The conversation was going nowhere. I was uninterested, un-engaging, unappreciative and it upset him further to hear that I was in a relationship that I was happy in.”
I could tell he was agitated, he wasted his valuable time doing something he didn’t need to do for me. His last words to me as we walked on stage was,
“Let’s just get this over with already.”
Ladies and gentleman, please welcome Melissa Schuman and from the BackStreet Boys, Nick Carter.
We performed the song. I did my set.
I spoke with the label head after the show, in which he mentioned the duet I did with Nick sounded amazing and that he could easily attach it to a movie soundtrack.
“We’ll be in touch.”
Weeks past and I heard nothing. No word from Kenneth despite calling for weeks, he was too busy to take my call. When we finally spoke, I was surprised to hear the feedback from the same label head I had spoke to before.
Dead pan, I was told,
“He isn’t interested in signing you. He told me your vocals were weak in the duet and that he was interested in the song only. Nick will be moving forward with the song elsewhere.”
I asked my manager what the game plan was next and he reluctantly said,
“Maybe another showcase. I don’t know.”
I could tell by his tone that he was no longer interested in working for me and I couldn’t help but wonder if Nick had any influence in it.
I never did another showcase again after that and I quickly lost interest in pursuing a career as a recording artist.
I was broken.
I was tired.
I was traumatized.
I told my therapist. I told my family. I told my friends. I have a plethora of people who can attest that I eventually became open vocal about my experience, i’ve just never had the platform to come out publicly.
When the news broke about the gross accusations of Harvey Weinstein, many of my friends and family asked me if I wanted to come forward with my story.
I said no.
So many years later, the idea of reliving and re-writing the events that were traumatic, something that I have worked so diligently to heal from is painful. I did however promise that if another victim ever came forward I would then feel the responsibility to show my support by sharing my story.
And then I saw the write up from RadarOnline on 10.30.17 and the response it was getting in the comments.
Victim shaming is a core reason why victims don’t speak out. The last comment is exactly what keeps victims, like myself, from ever speaking out.
The victim in the above article remains unnamed and I can’t blame her. I can’t help but feel empathy for her as well as sicken by the lack of belief and support. There is nothing worse than being victimized and having others call you a liar. Or claim you are looking for 15 mins of fame.
Let me ask this simple question. Who the hell wants to be famous for being raped?
I certainly don’t want to be “known” for this. I never wanted anybody to know about my story. I wanted to lock it in a box in my mind and let the memories slowly suffocate as time went on.
I feel I have an obligation now to come forward with the hope and intention to inspire and encourage other victims to tell their story. We are stronger in numbers. If you are reading this and you have been assaulted, know you don’t have to be silent and you are not alone. I know it’s scary. I’m scared.
I believe you. I stand with you and together I hope we can bring light to things that have been lost in the darkness for so long.