Kesha ruling devalues survivors

Forcing Kesha to continue her contract with her alleged abuser places money before her health.

Alia Jeraj

On Feb. 19, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled against Kesha in a case that reveals much about our culture’s attitudes toward sexual assault. 
 
 
In 2014, Kesha filed a complaint against music producer Dr. Luke (born Lukasz Gottwald), claiming he abused her physically, verbally and emotionally for 10 years. She later amended the report to implicate Sony as complicit in these abuses, saying it placed her in physical danger.
 
 
Kesha’s current contract, which a judge upheld, obligates her to create three more records with Dr. Luke’s label, forcing her to work with her alleged abuser. 
 
 
If you’re wondering what rape culture looks like, the ruling against Kesha provides a pretty glaring example. 
 
 
We live in a culture unwilling to believe survivors of abuse. This leads survivors of sexual or domestic abuse to report assaults at an abominably low rate — only 32 percent of sexual assault and 25 percent of domestic violence cases are reported.
 
 
If a judge can ignore the complaints of someone like Kesha — a successful, wealthy, famous, white and normatively beautiful woman — and force her to work with someone she says abused her, what hope is there for anyone else? 
 
 
The ruling in Kesha’s trial implies corporate gain and contracts based on economic capital are more important than individual well-being. Freeing Kesha from her contract with Dr. Luke would send messages to survivors across the country that their experiences are legitimate and worth more than corporate gain.
 
 
Alia Jeraj welcomes comments at [email protected].