The #MeToo movement is in full-swing; there’s no doubt about it. It has provided an outlet and a platform for scores of sexual harassment survivors and has brought to light the misconduct of countless men in power. But many people have one major complaint about the results of the movement so far: Where is the comeuppance for sexual abusers in the music industry?
#MeToo has been a strong and necessary force in the movie and TV industries, but has been lacking in other departments. One recent and major music-industry #MeToo has come about at the hands of Melissa Schuman, a member of the early 2000s pop band Dream.
Schuman has recently come forward about her experiences with sexual assault at the hands of Nick Carter, the breakout member of the Backstreet Boys. In a blog post dating back to November 2017, Schuman describes the circumstances surrounding the rape in detail and calls Carter out by name.
“After kissing for a moment, he took my hand and brought me into the bathroom adjacent to his office,” Schuman wrote in her blog post. “He shut the door and we continued to kiss… I told him I didn’t want to go any further. He didn’t listen. He didn’t care.”
Schuman told Dr. Oz in a video segment that it took her so many years to come forward with her experience because of some advice given to her at the time by her manager.
“I’d actually confided in my manager at that time about pressing charges,” Schuman said on Dr. Oz. “And I was told that [Carter] had the most powerful litigator in the country and that I didn’t have the money to pay for an attorney to essentially defend me, if he were to come after me.”
Once news broke that Carter was being investigated for sexually harassing a 20-year-old at a party, Schuman felt that she had to discuss her experience in order to lend her support to the other women Carter had harassed.
She corroborated the statements from her interview on her blog, saying, “I feel I have an obligation now to come forward with the hope and intention to inspire and encourage other victims to tell their stories. We are stronger in numbers.”
There are many reasons why sexual abuse survivors wait so long to share their stories, or even decide to come forward at all. For Schuman, it was hearing about the experiences of other women that made her want to add her voice to the influential #MeToo movement.
“I was empowered to share my story because of the brave women who shared their stories before me,” she said to People. “My hope is that my experience further highlights the urgent need for open dialogue and education about consent and sexual assault. To those who have shared their stories with me, I see you. I believe you. I stand with you.”
Hopefully, Schuman’s bravery in telling her story and calling out such a popular figure by name will have its intended effect of inspiring others in the music industry to do the same. The #MeToo movement needs to be as far-reaching and all-inclusive as possible if any real change is to be enacted, and gratitude is owed to Melissa Schuman for being one of the women to ignite that difficult conversation.