These past few months, Kesha has been in legal battles with Sony and Dr. Luke. She accuses Dr. Luke of sexually abusing her and raping her for years while he was working with her as her manager. Last week, Kesha was denied an injunction-she will still have to maintain her contract with Dr. Luke despite all of her allegations against him. She left the courtroom sobbing, and rightly so. In a society where drug users can receive up to life in prison and rapists are rarely even convicted, let alone sentenced, what does this say about rape culture?
When statistics are presented that indicate a low number of reported rapes, most people ask why more victims do not report their abusers. This case is why. Reporting a rape is traumatizing. Many victims who report are put through an interrogation process as if they were the ones who had committed a crime. This forces them to relive the trauma as well, since they’ll often be asked to repeat the story quite a few times. When it does go to trial, the victims often aren’t likely to receive justice. Kesha is a woman of wealth and fame, and she wasn’t able to simply terminate a contract, let alone press charges. These results speak volumes – and indicate that our legal system sees a piece of paper as more important than a woman’s safety.
This also tells victims that they aren’t guaranteed anything when they report sexual assault.Their abuser may still walk free; only now, the victim has been through more trauma. Victims are discouraged from speaking out because of cases like this. They see that speaking out won’t help, so they choose to deal with it on their own. Whether victims of sexual assault report or don’t report, they are given hell.
Our justice system doesn’t protect rape victims like it should. Victims who do report should not have to tell authorities what they were wearing, or if they were drinking. Victims should not be blamed for their experiences.
The hashtag #freekesha has been trending, and her followers are flooding social media with support. Even celebrities such as Demi Lovato have taken to Twitter to claim their support for the singer. Demi tweeted: “#FreeKesha this is only going to make you stronger, you’re a brave and beautiful girl. Prayers are with you @KeshaRose.” The pop star later added: “Frustrating to see women come forward with their past only to be shot down, not believed & disrespected for their bravery in taking action.”
Kesha herself took to Instagram a few days after the trial. She posted a selfie and wrote to her fans and supporters: “I am beyond words in gratitude. Thank you is not enough, but it is all I have, a million times over and forever thank you. the support I have received has left my face swollen from tears. I love you all so much.”
It seems that this time, no one is backing down. Will this change how our society views these cases? Probably not- changes like this do not happen quickly. But it does provide a public platform to start change, and that in itself is progress. Kesha has demonstrated great strength through all of this, and hopefully she keeps fighting and sees justice for herself.