Imagine you agree to take on a dog-sitting job for your neighbor. Imagine that the dog is actually rabid and aggressive, and it bites you. Imagine the fear, the terror, the absolute horror that you would feel when you merely thought about being near the dog. Imagine its owner telling you that you couldn’t quit. Sounds fair, right? If you think of the music industry as rabid dog-sitting, then Kesha’s going through that same, albeit more sickening, scenario.
One out every 6 women in the U.S. are victims of attempted or completed rapes, and 68 percent of sexual assault cases are not reported to authorities, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Among the reasons for unreported sexual assaults are threats, lack of concrete proof and fear that authorities won’t address the situation properly. In addition, only 2 percent of rapists go to prison, according to RAINN.
Kesha is among the minority who pursue legal action after suffering abuse. Although she did not report the actual assault to the police, in 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against her producer, Dr. Luke, alleging that he forced her to snort date rape drugs and sexually assaulted her, according to Billboard. The singer also claimed that Dr. Luke took control of her career after coaxing her into dropping out of high school at 18, threatening to ruin her if she reported the sexual abuse.
This past February, Kesha requested an injunction that would release her from her contract with Dr. Luke so she could finally try to move on and make music with someone who hadn’t abused her. Because of money and technicality, New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreicha denied the injunction request.
“I don’t understand why I have to take the extraordinary measure of granting an injunction,” Kornreicha said, according to USA Today. Apparently there isn’t enough evidence, but one look at Kesha’s face in the paparazzi photos tells you all you need to know.
Kesha, who went through years and years of emotional and mental trauma, managed to speak out about it, only for her abuser to walk away unpunished and a judge to prevent her from dropping her contract for the sake of “the commercially reasonable thing,” as per USA Today. When you find that contracts and legal jargon deny the fundamental human right to not be harmed, that’s how you know your supposed “justice system” is screwed.
When Kesha sobbed and pleaded and begged to get away from the man of her nightmares, how could another human being be so cold and essentially tell her that she had to work with the one person who makes her life a living hell? And even if Dr. Luke had invested tens of millions of dollars into Kesha’s career, as his lawyer argued he did, that doesn’t cancel out the trauma he caused Kesha.
When a celebrity — a rich celebrity — can’t get out of a contract to be away from her abuser, what does that say to the rest of the world? When the court system acts in such a way that further injures a victim of unspeakable evil, how do you justify that? The answer is that saving a “heavily negotiated” contract is more important than a victim’s safety and peace of mind.
This latest hitch in Kesha’s legal battle only confirms the notion that, even if a woman does report her abuser, not only will he not go to prison, but she will also never be able to escape him. Dr. Luke has held Kesha hostage for all these years, and now the legal system, the one that’s supposed to shield others from danger, is doing the same. The irony is almost laughable, if only it weren’t so pitiful.