Things may be finally changing in Hollywood. Just take one look at TIME's Person of the Year cover honoring the "Silence Breakers," and you'll see women and men being applauded for speaking out against their alleged abusers. But that's not the case for everyone — Melissa Schuman addressed the Nick Carter-related backlash she's faced after coming forward with rape allegations about the famous boy band member. In November, the former Dream singer claimed Nick Carter sexually assaulted her years ago. (Carter has denied the allegations through his rep.)
In a new blog post published on Tuesday, Dec. 19, Schuman opens up about being called a liar widely across the internet. She writes,
"For the first 2 weeks, I shook. I cried. I barely ate. No longer being able to depend on denial as a coping mechanism was gone. I was out. Everyone knew. I woke up every morning anticipating the next brave woman who would speak out and stand with me."
However, that was not what happened next. Instead, she writes, "What came next was a barrage of hatred, bullying and victim shaming." And that's not all — Schuman also claims other women came to her with allegations about Carter ("I’m not the only one. And I know because I’ve been contacted"), but they have not spoken out for the following reason: "Because of fear. Fear of him. Fear of his machine. Those who support him. Fear of how he will accuse THEM of being a liar too." (Bustle reached out to Carter's rep about these latest claims, but did not receive an immediate response.)
Schuman's blog post also poses the following questions:
"Is it because Harvey Weinstein or Mario [Batali] haven’t been adorned on people’s childhood bedroom walls? Is it because he is young and considered desirable by his fans that he can get away with such atrocities?"
It's true that Harvey Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company and kicked out of The Academy following several allegations of sexual assault and harassment. (Weinstein has denied the allegations through a spokesperson.) Meanwhile, celebrity chef Mario Batali was accused of sexual misconduct by four women in a story published on Eater New York. He apologized for his behavior in a statement, and ABC series, The Chew, terminated its relationship with him.
As for the Backstreet Boy member, Carter released a statement following Schuman's allegations in November. Through his rep, he told Bustle:
"I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual. We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm."
There appeared to be no major backlash on Carter's end. However, as Schuman's blog post makes clear, she was dubbed a "liar" and her claims were seemingly dismissed by fans online after her blog post was published. But instead of the name-calling keeping her quiet, she writes on her blog,
"No matter the cost, I am proud to be on the right side of history and I hope you will join me too. Speaking out against sexual violence, assault and abuse are so important."
She then shares a message to others who may be suffering in silence: "Know that your story matters. You matter. You deserve to be heard and seen and validated. And don’t be shaken when they scream, 'Liar! Liar! Liar!'"
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.