#FreeKesha Can Raise Awareness For Sexual Assault

The hashtag #FreeKesha has taken over the Internet, sparking the discussion on sexual assault nationwide. According to The New York Times, the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that pop star Kesha Sebert must stay in her five-album contract with Sony under super music producer Luke Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke, who Kesha says drugged, raped and psychologically abused her.

Because of the ruling, A-list celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Lorde and Kelly Clarkson have been rallying around Kesha on Twitter using the hashtag #FreeKesha. DJ and music producer Zedd even went as far as offering his talents to help her produce a song. The rising social media trend is rooted in making others aware of the issue of sexual assault in an attempt to empower victims and bystanders to stand up and speak out.

Because sexual assault is such a common occurrence, the ample amount of discussion that the #FreeKesha hashtag is stirring up can help break the taboo of talking about the issue.

According to Texas A&M’s “Step In, Stand Up” Campaign, statistics show that at least one in three Texas A&M students have been a victim of sexual assault, and 34 percent did not report it to anyone. This is quite alarming considering that Texas A&M consists of more than 58,000 students. Now, compare this to the national average of at least one in five—as stated by a 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study—college students being a victim of sexual assault. Worried yet?

It is vital that college students take a stand against sexual assault. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, numerous sexual acts fall under the umbrella of sexual assault. These include, but are not limited to: forced sexual intercourse, forced anal/oral sex (sodomy), child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.  According to the Texas DPS Crime by Jurisdiction report, in 2014, 82% of the 375 assaults in Brazos County were cleared.

No matter how famous or ordinary a person may be, accusations of sexual assault should be taken seriously. According to an article published on the Texas Tribune, students at Texas A&M “listed feelings of shame, embarrassment or fear of emotional difficulty” as reasons for not reporting a sexual assault. Twitter users using the hashtag #FreeKesha corroborated these feelings of humiliation, adding on that people hardly believe those who cry foul. It is even more discouraging for a victim of sexual assault to report their abuse when even a famous singer isn’t receiving any legal justice.

Sexual assault is a heinous, widespread atrocity that must cease to exist. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), another American is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds, adding up to about 293,000 victims per year. According to WondersList, the United States ranks No. 1 in the “Top 10 Countries With Highest Rape Crime” report. In the United States, sexual assault is taken as a joke. Fraternities and groups throw around phrases such as “no means yes” and “yes means anal” to try and demean the issue. Something as serious as the despoilment of an individual’s virtue, sanity and dignity—sexual assault is not a joke.

I sincerely hope that the #FreeKesha hashtag serves its full potential, which is to open the eyes of millions to the evil that is sexual assault. While the current circumstances of Kesha’s case are not encouraging to victims of sexual assault, the importance of standing up and speaking out remains. The voice that takes a stand is the voice that can potentially save a life.