The 24-year-old woman whose boyfriend forced her to walk naked down the streets of Harlem on a cold winter day last year while he filmed her told a jury Monday that she was “mortified” by the incident.
The humiliating experience began around 5 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2016, when Jasson Melo came up with punishment for the woman after he grew angry that she had received a text message from another man. At the time, Melo and the woman were ending the relationship, and she was planning to move away.
So, why would the woman agree to walk around the city naked?
According to the New York Post, she claimed that Melo “berated her, choked and beat her for hours before threatening her with a heavy Buddha statue if she did not strut around outdoors in the nude with their 2-month-old baby inside.”
The 24-year-old Melo is on trial in Manhattan Supreme Court. He is facing charges of coercion, assault, aggravated harassment, menacing, criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child.
The woman described that day and the look in Melo’s eyes at the time.
“His pupils looked like they were about to pop out,” she said, going on to explain why she handed him her phone which he used to record her humiliating public walk in the nude. She said Melo pulled off the towel she had wrapped around herself.
She said she tried to hide behind parked cars and that she then wrapped herself in a motorcycle cover. Meanwhile, she said, Melo taunted her in Spanish.
“I felt mortified. It was horrible. I felt so embarrassed,” she told the jury.
She said she saw neighbors, but no one came to help her.
Melo boasted about his bullying on social media and even allegedly tried to promote the video and sell merchandise using quotes from the video footage.
The woman broke down in tears away from the jury during a break, according to the New York Post. When the video was shown in court, she buried her head in her hands, unable to watch.
“I was devastated about everything. It was really hard,” she testified, according to the Post. “It’s still hard to get over it. It’s something that I’m going to have to live with forever.”
She told the jury that during their three-year relationship, Melo was prone to outbursts of jealous rage.
She told the jury that there were “even times when he broke several phones of mine.” She also said Melo would get angry over “stupid things.”
“I saw something like a conversation that he had, and I confronted him about it, and he got really angry, and he threw the phone and broke it. I remember him seeing a picture or two of me that I just took of myself, and he was just jealous over thinking I sent it to someone,” she added.