No person should be forced to have contact with their abuser. It shouldn’t be deemed necessary by a modern court of law, but it was. So how did this happen?
Last week a Manhattan Supreme Court judge refused to release Kesha from her 6 album recording contract with Sony and producer, Dr. Luke, the man that allegedly raped Kesha shortly after her eighteenth birthday and continued to psychologically abuse her throughout their working relationship. It’s an absurd call, in my opinion, but not a shocking one. Why?
The music industry has a long history of exploiting women and only recently have situations been garnering the national media attention they deserve. This case is thrown on the seemingly endless pile of incidences where women and the justice owed to them have been disregarded and attackers walk away with little to no consequences. It is a trend that our justice system has normalized and when that happens we can no longer claim it a justice system, but rather a system of failure.
Only 2% of rapists are convicted and imprisoned.
-U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
The life of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” relies heavily on the abuse and mistreatment of women as nothing more than sex objects and status symbols of sexual prowess. Huge stars have gallivanted with underage groupies in the hay day of Rock & Roll party animals. Sable Starr was one of the “baby groupies” that had relations with rock stars in the 70s and 80s while she was still in her early to mid teens. Jimmy Page started dating Lori Maddox when she was 14. These behaviors were normalized for men of the music industry. The lifestyle of “rock” and the over consumption of drugs and alcohol lead to countless other stories of intoxicated women being taken advantage of. This was inexcusable then and it certainly will not be tolerated now. It is important that these incidences be brought to life by brave women. Lying silent on issues or sexual harassment, rape, and abuse will not help eliminate them in the future. This is why the testimony of brave women such as Kesha, Jackie Fox, Lady GaGa, Amber Coffman, Jessica Hopper and countless others is so important step to ending a history of “non-consequence”. I applaud these women for taking the risk to call out misogyny and inappropriate behavior. They run the risk of pissing off companies, PR firms, and producers, all of whom could decidedly damage their careers and still they choose to speak their truth. That’s rock and roll. Fighting for a safe place for women to make music, that’s rock and roll. Covering up the volatile acts of monsters is not.
“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
-Zora Neale Hurston
This court ruling is an insult to the victims of sexual abuse; by letting the history of non-consequence continue, our judicial system is showing that they do not take the rights or well-being of sexual abuse victims seriously. To this court a stupid contract is more important than this woman’s well-being. This is her livelihood and now the only way she can continue on making her living is by working with the man that allegedly raped her.
I can’t say for sure what this means for the future of women in music. One can hope that because of this great injustice and the media attention it is getting that the eyes of our legal system will be opened in the future. Let’s fight for a industry where everyone is held accountable so that a safe place can be made.
SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD