If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you might have missed my tweets over the judge determining Kesha couldn’t leave her contract with Dr. Luke & Sony. To say the judge’s decision bothered me would be an understatement. A big one.
I’ve encountered quite a few people who have said that if it was really rape, Kesha would have reported it. Around 68% of rape victims don’t report. Some said that it’s not really rape because because Kesha denied it in a deposition. If Dr. Luke was intimidating or threatening her into denying it, she likely lied to prevent further abuse by him. Sexual assault and other types of abuse can cause a person to deny abuse is occurring. When you’re being hurt, you will do anything to prevent future abuse because you know that if you upset your abuser, they may lash out & they may become more violent. An abuse victim learns what actions they can take & what words they can say that won’t lead to aggression, injury or death.
Of course I stand with Kesha, because I personally understand what it’s like to not share your abuse, your trauma with the world. I lied about the aspects of the abuse1 that occurred in my past for years. I lied to therapists. I lied to doctors. I lied to my parents. I lied to friends. I lied to other relatives. I lied to people who read this blog.2 I lied over and over. I could tell people with ease that it didn’t happen & that I didn’t know why they thought it did. I was ashamed. I was afraid. And, like most people who endured traumatic events, in denial that what I went through was truly abusive or traumatic.
It might make more sense to some to write Kesha off for her denial or delay, but I can’t judge her for that.
And then there are the people who say that she must be lying because all or most victims lie. This is untrue. Those who do report don’t usually see their rapist go to jail or even to trial. And those who report or even acknowledge that it happened at some point in their past are automatically called liars/accused of crying rape, which is statistically unlikely, as there’s a 2-8% rate of false reports with rape & sexual assault. They have their credibility & morality challenged, while they hear nothing but praise for the perpetrator.
Look at Kesha’s case, people are using her image as a “party girl” to discredit her. That image was likely one decided upon by the producers & label executives. She was niche marketed by them, more specifically by her abuser3 himself, Dr. Luke. It’s entirely possible that the idea of Kesha as the booze-loving sex pot was an attempt to keep her silent about the abuse. And even if she really was a party girl, she still could be a rape and/or abuse victim. We shouldn’t stick to the idea of a perfect or preferable victim type because that silences so many of the abused. There is always one aspect of a victim’s life or personality that gets used against them to deny that abuse ever happened or to pretend that they were responsible for it happening.
I stand with Kesha & I will continue to do so. I applaud the celebrities who are willing to risk their careers to stand up for her. I applaud the non-celebrities who have posted in the #freekesha & #boycottsony hashtags and who have defended her, even when they don’t like her music. I applaud the people who have shared their own stories. There is so much courage, goodness, & hope being shared. It’s very beautiful. It gives me hope that even when a judge makes such a dehumanizing decision that people will support an abused person’s decision to get away from their abuser.