Earlier this week pop star Kesha was in court trying to get released from her contract with Sony and Kemosabe. The situation is horribly ugly for the singer, who finds herself trapped in a deal and obligated to record six more albums with a man who has abused her, producer DJ Luke.
I’ll make no bones about it, I believe and support Kesha and feel the position she finds herself in is disgraceful.
Before anyone cries “innocent until proven guilty”, I understand the concept but in cases of rape it’s a tricky one to apply. Because in presuming the accused innocent we are suggesting that the victim is lying.
Our culture has some serious issues with rape and one major problem is that victims are often placed under the microscope in ways that are grossly unfair, and their accusation is suspected and questioned.
Regardless of dress, lifestyle or profession, rape is rape. Yet, we get comments on how much women have drunk, what they wore or where they went. It all seems to suggest that in some way the victim was “asking for it”. No woman is asking for it.
Personally, I think the victim should be believed and protected. That should be the starting point and investigation can come later.
False rape claims are rare and a woman has very little to gain from lying, as mentioned it places them under scrutiny and especially in Kesha’s case it doesn’t make sense.
If it was just a case of the relationship being strained she could have merely gritted her teeth and ground out six albums as quickly as possible. If Fleetwood Mac could make Rumours while the members were breaking up, then a personality clash would be easily overcome.
The news that a judge refused her appeals to be released is so infuriating and upsetting, as were images of Kesha reduced to tears in court. A young woman is being forced to make a horrible choice- give up the career she has built and loves, or go and work with a man who was physically and emotionally abusive to her.
Nobody should be forced to interact with their abuser and the judge’s ruling seemed more about business than the issues involved.
Really dropping the ball are Sony, who look terrible on this whole thing. Firstly, they seem to be siding with DJ Luke, which is not cool and secondly they appear to be putting profit over Kesha’s wellbeing. Sony could have handled it a lot better. They could have just let Kesha go and cut losses, or else worked something out where Kesha stayed with them but the link to DJ Luke was severed and he would not be involved or profit from her work.
Either option would have left them looking a damn sight better than they do now.
Thankfully there is some support for Kesha, with the #freekesha hashtag spreading online as people call for Sony to let her go and support her in what is a difficult time. She herself has thanked and acknowledged the help of her fans, but for it to really take effect she needs her fellow pop stars to help too.
This unfortunately has thrown up a new issue, one which highlights a clear failing in how we discuss rape. Several female celebrities came out in support including Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Lily Allen, Lorde and Arianna Grande.
While this is heartening to see, it turned a bit sour as Demi Lovato used it to apparently snipe at Taylor Swift for doing nothing. Petty point scoring was not a good thing to see.
The question that comes up here is, where are the men?
We expect the other female stars to rally, because of “sisterhood” but yet we let male stars off the book. Why haven’t Kesha’s former collaborators Pitbull and Flo Rida shown their support?
Rape and abuse our uncomfortable subjects, and ones that men have trouble engaging with. It’s not something we have to fear as much, and fear of saying the wrong thing lurks at the back of your mind. But we have to speak out, we need to show Kesha that we support her too, that we condemn the actions of DJ Luke and men like him.
We need to show that we believe those who come forward with allegations of abuse, that we believe they should be heard and the guilty punished. We need to show that we agree that rape is wrong and there are no excuses.
If more men were out there voicing this then perhaps our attitudes towards rape will change. That the discussion will change so that we focus on the issues that lead some men to feel they are entitled to a woman’s body no matter what and not what the woman could/should have done differently.
The victim is never responsible, the one responsible is the person doing the abuse.
Kesha is in a position many victims of abuse aren’t: she’s rich, successful and has a platform to voice what happened to her. Despite all these advantages the system has failed her and she is still expected to work and make money for her abuser.
I hope that things change, I hope that there is a happy ending for Kesha. I hope that her courage in speaking out helps other victims to do the same and I hope that it can help our society adopt a better and more supportive attitude towards victims.
We need to change. And men need to take part in that. Nobody is saying it’s all men, but it’s too many men and they don’t get made in a vacuum, we need to understand why these men think and act the way they do and what we can do to make sure less of them do.
I stand with Kesha #freekesha
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.