Kesha’s battle reflects greater issue of rape culture

Jordan Figueredo, Senior Staff Writer

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This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

After three years of legal fees and emotions, a harrowing struggle has finally been made public. Nashville-native Kesha Rose Sebert, more commonly known by first name alone, has been in a legal battle with executive producer Dr. Luke since October 2014 on allegations of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse. The progression of Kesha’s suit proves that women’s claims of sexual assault are still regularly dismissed and disbelieved, resulting in many cases being overlooked. That this happens even to celebrities indicates a huge issue that harms an unacceptable number of American women.

Kesha is seeking to have her contracts voided so she can continue her music career away from the man who has allegedly traumatized her in recent years. Dr. Luke has countersued Kesha for “false and shocking accusations.”

Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich denied an injunction which would have broken Kesha’s ties to Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke’s label. Kornreich claims there has been no showing of irreparable harm.

Kornreich said that there was not enough evidence to defend Kesha’s claims.

Despite Kemosabe Records’ being an imprint of Sony, the latter cannot formally terminate Kesha’s contract because it was originally negotiated with Dr. Luke’s company, Kasz Money, and will continue to be under their supervision for the next six albums Kesha releases.

Kesha’s case has gained the attention of the nation as well as endorsements and support from fellow celebrities — Taylor Swift, for example, donated $250,000 for legal fees. The fact Justice Kornreich, despite outcry from various feminist groups and strong evidence siding with Kesha, would not free the singer from her alleged abuser exposes one of the largest reasons about why 68 percent of sexual assault cases are not even reported to the police. The ‘fake’ rape myth to discredit victims is seen in full force in this case.

Rihanna experienced similar frustration. In February 2009, Chris Brown was arrested for assaulting Rihanna, who claims multiple episodes of abuse but never came forward out of fear or being disbelieved. Women often don’t come forward out of fear: either that they won’t receive justice or will come off as weak.

Coming forward took a lot of courage on her behalf, especially after years of abuse, but even then society still forgave Brown. What that sends is a poor, damaging message: if a man says sorry, everything is fixed.

Compared to murder cases and assault cases, which receive 64 and 57 percent resolution respectively, rape only receives 40 percent. Police view 86 percent of women who report rape with suspicion and nearly three-quarters of accusations by women who were under some level of drug use or intoxication were dismissed.

By coming forward, Kesha risked her reputation and professional relationships, but did so because she needed to protect herself and give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves.

If women are not going to be discredited as victims because of their gender, society cannot claim to have a feminist agenda. Dr. Luke can quite possibly get away with what he is being accused of doing simply because he is a man. Sexual assault is a major issue but is not prosecuted nearly enough due to men being believed as innocent, rather than society facing the reality that women are almost never lying in these cases. It is time to acknowledge that these abusers need to be punished for their actions.

Jordan is a junior in Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]