Melissa Schuman, a former member of the all-girl pop group Dream, has claimed in an extraordinary and detailed blog posting that the Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter raped her at his apartment in 2002.
Schuman says she was 18 at the time and a virgin, while Carter was 22. When she told him to stop, saying she was “saving herself” for her husband, he allegedly replied, “I could be your husband.”
The singer said she was inspired to come forward with her story after being horrified by trolls victim-shaming a fan who claimed to have been assaulted by Carter, saying, “Victim shaming is a core reason why victims don’t speak out.”
Schuman said she first became aware of Carter’s interest in her after their representatives set up a phone call in the hopes that they would date, though nothing came of the plan.
A few years later, she says she encountered Carter again professionally and was invited back to his apartment, where she claims he took her to a locked bathroom and performed oral sex on her despite her asking him repeatedly to stop—before demanding she do the same to him.
“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,” Schuman wrote.
“That’s where I saw myself, my reflection, watching myself do something that I was sickened by. Watching myself be assaulted, forced to engage in an act against my will,” she continued. “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 if 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.”
In a twist of fate, several years after the alleged rape, Schuman signed with Carter’s friend and manager Kenneth Crear.
Crear set up a showcase for Schuman with a major label and one of the songs, she claims, “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 couldn’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.”
Schuman added, “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.”
Schuman then relayed a message to the anonymous woman who accused Carter of sexual assault, and was subsequently lambasted online: “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 remains unnamed and I can’t blame her. I can’t help but feel empathy for her as well as be sickened 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 minutes 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.”
Schuman signed off her post with the hashtag that has become shorthand for solidarity among victims of sexual assault: “#MeToo.”