A week ago, the hashtag #FreeKesha was trending on Twitter, while dozens of fans with posters displaying the same slogan stood outside a New York courtroom. Since that day when her request for an injunction was denied, there have literally been dozens of articles, thinkpieces, and open letters published. The Kesha case has touched so many people, and that’s because, at its heart, it is a sad reminder of the world in which we live.
To recap the details of the past few weeks, as there’s been a long going on:
Kesha had sued her producer, Dr. Luke, in 2014 for sexual assault and battery, and wanted to sever any contractual agreements with him. She turned to the court to seek an injunction that would allow her to record music elsewhere. This request was denied by Justice Shirley Kornreich on Friday, February 19.
Part of the tangled web here is that Sony has allegedly agreed to let Kesha continue to record with them in a way that would supposedly allow her to avoid interactions with Dr. Luke. However, Kesha’s attorney has called this an “illusory promise” and her lawyer speculates that Sony would simply not promote her music.
Kornreich justified her decision by saying, “You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry.” She also said that she was going to do the “commercially responsible thing.”
It was hard to hear the news last week and not feel disgusted and disappointed. It’s clear that the court was holding the finances involved in Kesha’s contract and the business aspect of her record deal in a higher realm than her emotions, safety, and well-being. And therein lies a huge part of the problem. Kesha has literally said, “I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don’t feel safe in any way.”
Furthermore, there are still so many people questioning Kesha’s story, or wondering why she waited so long before bringing these allegations to light. Our question to those of that perspective: After hearing the results of her case, do you even need to wonder this?
Here are some numbers:
Out of every 100 sexual assaults, only 32 get reported to the police, and only 7 lead to an arrest. Percentage wise, that’s 68% instances of sexual assaults that are not reported. 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
With statistics like that, it becomes a little more understandable why women (and men, because men are victims of abuse too) don’t feel comfortable reporting. But this needs to change. And every time there’s a case like Kesha’s, where the results are disappointing and disheartening, it makes it seem even less likely that it will change.
But it needs to change. We need to get to a place where the norm isn’t to cast doubt and skepticism on women who are coming forward to report abuse. We need to get to a place where women aren’t shouldering some or all of the blame for their assaults. We need to get to a place where things are simply different.
Since the denial of the injunction, a handful of celebrities have come out in support of Kesha. Lady Gaga posted a video on Instagram, urging Sony to drop Dr. Luke.
Demi Lovato also took to Twitter to share her support.
Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande, and Lorde also tweeted their solidarity.
Kesha has since written a powerful message on Facebook to her fans, thanking them for their undying support, love, and positive thoughts:
We stand with Kesha, because we stand with women – and men – who have been abused, afraid, worried, and scared. We stand for safety, confidence, and the ability to speak out against those who have wronged you. We stand for a society in which all of this is one day possible.