Trigger warning: mentions of sexual assault and eating disorders
Also, a trigger warning for insecure males: This article includes strong instances of feminism and might cause you to question the misogyny within you that you did not realize existed.
It’s easy to forget about things if they’re not on your newsfeed or in an email. For this reason, I want to remind you about what’s going on with Kesha. A couple of years ago, Kesha filed a lawsuit against her long-time producer, Dr. Luke, for sexual and emotional abuse. She claimed that he drugged, raped, and threatened her, ultimately causing an eating disorder that placed her in rehab. However, she is bound to a contract with Sony (and therefore Dr. Luke) that will not allow her to record music with anyone else. As a result, her options are to either record with her abuser or stop making music altogether.
Kesha is so terrified of Dr. Luke that she chose the latter.
In court, her lawyers challenged the contract and asked that Kesha be able to record an album outside of her record label. This was denied on the grounds of a lack of evidence and the inability to destroy a contract that was “heavily negotiated and typical for the industry” (Coscarelli).
In my opinion, a business should not be protected more than the people involved in it, even if a contract is “heavily negotiated” (Coscarelli). The ruling over Kesha’s court case reveals a fault in our legal system. It leaves room for the “systemic misogyny” in industries like the music business, which protects people like Dr. Luke. According to Lena Dunham, “What’s happening to Kesha highlights the way that the American legal system continues to hurt women by failing to protect them from the men they identify as their abusers.” Instead of arguing whether politicians should be able to govern our bodies and choices, maybe it’s time to start protecting us from the people who constantly get away with abusing us. My body is my body, and I will do what I want with it: I will dress modestly or show some skin, and that’s my business. Your business is to prevent others from harming me.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse has been rampant in the music industry throughout history. Many women in the music business have also experienced sexually inappropriate behavior from their male counterparts, including Amber Coffman, a musician (Lytton). Coffman states:
Girls learn that they shouldn’t cause trouble, that they’re here for men’s enjoyment but not really for their own. Boys learn that they can get away with being vulgar and disrespectful to women and can even use and discard them with zero consequences, and that they also will be taken more seriously and have more opportunities than girls. It shows how heavy and strong the hand of wealth and power and male dominance is – even when the victim is a multi-millionaire. (Lytton)
When did it become acceptable for people to disregard the women that are brave enough to speak about what they have experienced and even go so far as to mock them for it?
Most of the time, we look at sexual assault through a certain lens, one of sympathy but with the mindset that it could never happen to you specifically. But I have a close friend who has experienced it, and I bet you are not far from someone who has either. Sexual assault is humiliating, degrading, and scary, and doesn’t necessarily become a reality unless you are forced to experience it yourself. Sexual assault is real, it is dangerous, and it needs to stop.