There’s one aspect of being a woman that we’re not supposed to talk about. We aren’t supposed to say that walking around at night makes us tense and uneasy, even if we have keys or pepper spray on us. People would rather not hear us talk about how we always take special care when getting dressed before a night out, terrified that if something were to happen, people would get the idea that our outfits meant that we were asking for it. They don’t understand when we mention the sheer terror that runs through our bodies when we can’t find one of our friends at a crowded party on a Friday night.
We are always afraid of something happening. We just hide it well.
Pushing these things under the rug and pretending that they don’t exist will only allow for this sort of thing to continue. And to allow this means that we have failed as human beings. We cannot honestly say that we’ve progressed as a society when rape and sexual assault are still as common as they are.
According to a 2014 study conducted by the Association of American Universities, 23.1% of undergraduate female students experience nonconsensual sexual contact by the time she graduates. Of those that go through this ordeal, only 5-28% of these incidents are reported to the police. Reasons given for staying silent include not thinking that what occurred was serious enough, feeling that it would be too emotionally taxing to go through with a trial, and the fear that nothing would be done about it or that she would not be taken seriously. Unfortunately, those last two fears are completely valid in this world that we live in. We only have to look at what is currently going on with Kesha.
Lately, it has been impossible to log on to the Internet without stumbling across the latest news involving Kesha and her lawsuit against her producer, Luke Gottwald. In late 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke for different forms of abuse- including sexual, verbal, physical, and emotional- in the ten years that they had produced music together. She is seeking to void any and all contracts that bind her to Dr. Luke so that she will be free to create and produce the music she wants without the influence of her alleged abuser.
Kesha is not trying to land Dr. Luke in jail for ten years of inexcusable behavior. She is simply trying to live a life without him present, one where he has no say over the music she records or the image she portrays. That’s all anyone who has endured this kind of horrific ordeal wants- to be completely rid of the person who made them feel like less than a person.
The fact that Sony won’t take these allegations seriously and won’t help Kesha to get out of her contract with Dr. Luke is beyond disgusting. I understand that this case has not gone to trial yet- let alone reached a verdict- but Sony should be listening to what Kesha is saying. She has nothing to gain by coming forward with this information. If anything, she has everything to lose- her privacy, her feeling of security, even her music career. That’s a lot to risk if these allegations are untrue.
Speaking of which, why is it that whenever something like this happens, everyone automatically assumes that the victim is lying? Like Kesha, women who come out with these kinds of allegations have everything in the world to lose and nothing to gain. If people are saying that something like this happened to them, it should be taken seriously, not played off like some joke or publicity stunt. The more that people try to make excuses when a story like this comes out, the more victims will feel silenced and ashamed. And the more people are silenced about these kinds of experiences, the more they will continue to happen. That is 100% unacceptable.
We should be taking steps in trying to prevent abuse in all forms. Not creating a culture in which it becomes tolerable.