These past weeks have been full of talk, ranging from debates over the presidential primaries to opinions regarding Kanye West’s outrageous antics. However, there’s another issue that’s been brought into the spotlight. Kesha, the well-known singer and songwriter, has been involved in a legal battle for nearly two years to gain the right to do what she loves without fear or discomfort.
In 2014 Kesha filed a lawsuit against Sony Records to be let out of her exclusive contract with Kemosabe Entertainment. The alleged reason for this is because during the past ten years she had suffered sexual, physical, and mental abuse from her producer, Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald). As a result she and her lawyers have claimed that she is unable to work with Dr. Luke out of fear for her well-being. She herself is quoted as saying: “I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don’t feel safe in any way.”
Kesha’s allegations of the abuse she suffered are disturbing to say the least. She says that she was drugged, raped, pressured into getting intoxicated, threatened and berated throughout the span of a decade. According to Kesha all of this abuse caused her to develop bulimia, a dangerous eating disorder, which thus led to her spending two months at a rehabilitation facility. And unfortunately for Kesha, the harm that Dr. Luke has done has had far reaching effects. In an effort to avoid having to work with her alleged rapist, Kesha has had to put her music career on hold. In an effort to once again be free to record her own music Kesha filed a request for a temporary injunction. This would’ve allowed her to be able to record music with a label other than Sony while her case is pending. Last week her request was denied.
With all of this injustice it’s no wonder that the hashtag #FreeKesha has been taking over social media. People everywhere have been voicing their support for her, including a multitude of celebrities. Stars like Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Lorde, and Lily Allen have been quick to rally by her side. Rapper Iggy Azalea tweeted this simple, but accurate, statement: “I believe that Kesha deserves the ability to move forward, create and earn a living.” The outpouring of support is, at the very least, a silver lining to this miserable gray cloud. Not only because it assures Kesha she’s not alone, but because it sends a message. Yes, this is about Kesha, but it’s also about all of us. There are so many aspects to this huge mess that are awful, unfair and wrong, and they all need to be addressed. Why is the reputation and career of her alleged rapist more important than the victim’s well-being? Why has Sony not taken decisive action against this Dr. Luke? And, as famous comedian Lena Dunham states in a letter she composed in defense of Kesha, why is the American legal system continuing to hurt women by “failing to protect them from the men they identify as their abusers?”
Kesha is the woman at work who’s been assaulted by her boss but can’t report it for fear of being fired. She’s the college girl who is assaulted at a party, and gets told that since she was drunk she was “asking for it.” She’s the victim who lives in one of the many states that give rapists parental rights over children conceived through rape, thus forcing those victims to have a lifetime of interaction with their attacker. Kesha’s predicament is represents all those injustices and more.
There isn’t much good in this situation, but it has brought light to Kesha’s plight and the struggles faced by thousands of women who have been victimized and wronged in a like manner. So the questions begs to be asked, “What can be done?”
That question is one that can resonate right here on campus. Students can band together and raise awareness for Kesha and her dilemma, along with the troubles of women, and men, like her. It’s been seen again and again how raising awareness about an issue can ignite change. Raising awareness about sexual abuse and violence may be able to do just that. Hopefully, together, we can help make the world a better place.