by Erin Malley
Now trending: #FreedomForKesha. After being denied a court injunction for her ongoing battle against her alleged abuser on Feb. 19, Kesha Rose Sebert’s case has gone viral, attracting attention and support not only from fans, but also from numerous celebrities across social media, ranging from Taylor Swift to Adele to Lady Gaga.
In October 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against her producer Lukasz Gottwald, known in the music business as Dr. Luke, stating he “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused Ms. Sebert to the point where Ms. Sebert nearly lost her life,” according to rollingstone.com. However, a few weeks later, Dr. Luke counter-sued Kesha and her management for defamation and breach of contract, claiming the statements were false, according to nytimes.com.
For the past year, Kesha has been battling her label and her alleged abuser, but has not been successful. Following the court ruling, an attorney representing Sony stated that the company had made it possible for Kesha to create music outside of the label with no involvement or interaction with Dr. Luke; however, Sony is unable to terminate the contract between the two, according to nytimes.com. Judge Kornreich stated she wanted to hear more evidence before outright dismissing the case, according to rollingstone.com.
In light of Kesha’s current situation, it is necessary to acknowledge the all-too-common issues of victim-silencing and victim-blaming in all cases of abuse. These issues have driven considerable public discourse in recent months, from the White House’s “It’s on Us” campaign all the way to Lady Gaga’s Oscar performance of her song “Til it Happens to You” from the documentary The Hunting Ground. Both the campaign and the film address the issue of rape on college campuses.
Even with so much attention on the topic of abuse, it’s still was not easy for Kesha to speak out. Being a pop star under constant public scrutiny only makes such a private issue more difficult to share. According to nj.gov, only 26 percent of sexual assaults are reported — and the most common reasons for staying silent include self-blame, embarrassment and fear of not being believed. Victims should not be silenced, and Kesha sharing her allegations is an inspiration for victims of abuse everywhere.
Unfortunately, Kesha is somewhat of an anomaly by immediately receiving immense support after filing a lawsuit against her abuser. In reality, the majority of abuse victims endure victim-blaming. This is the essence of rape culture: We often assume that the victim did not try hard enough to prevent her abuse, rather than considering the possibility of an actual crime. However, this mindset is a typical reaction to all forms of abuse, whether sexual, physical or emotional. It’s extremely challenging to encourage victims of abuse to speak out when society is so quick to dismiss the issue.
Kesha’s openness about her situation has demonstrated that it is possible for a positive change to come from a terrible action. Obviously, there is no way for the public to know what truly happened. However, the larger issue of abuse is important for people to discuss openly. As a result of her case, more and more people are becoming aware of the severe crime of abuse and ways to stop the continuing cycle. Our society needs to finally recognize that abuse is never the victim’s fault and it cannot be ignored any longer.