“All I ever wanted was to be able to make music without being afraid, scared, or abused,” writes singer Kesha, 28, in an emotional Facebook post days after her plea to be freed from a contract with a man that she say’s tormented and abused her, psychologically and physically for 10 years during their partnership in the music industry.
Kesha’s story is one unfortunate example of many who come forward
At only 18 years old Kesha signed a record deal with a label co-founded by Dr. Luke, her producer, and in 2014, Kesha first made the allegation that Dr. Luke had drugged and abused her, but was too scared for her career and family to come forward. Now in 2016, supreme judge Kornreich officially ruled, “My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing,” denying Kesha from an injunction from her contract under not enough evidence, the denial of allegations from Dr. Luke and legal matters of the contract.
Since the trial, head label Sony have reported that they cannot legally terminate the contract between Kesha and Dr. Luke, but will make it possible for her to record with no interaction with the producer as long as she continues in the contract that sees her make another six albums.
Although there are many binding legalities to this case in particular, Kesha’s story is one unfortunate example of many who come forward. The judges’ refusal of freedom from a man who abused her, to be “commercially reasonable”, is why thousands of victims are too scared and ashamed to speak up about abuse in fear of being ignored or not believed. Unless Kesha now agrees to work with Sony and on a label that refused her release, she may not be able to continue doing the one thing she loves.
the condemning of victims makes it harder for any to speak up at all in fear of how they might be perceived
In the same instances, a staggering amount of male celebrities have been arrested and charged with abusing women in the past, only to go and further their careers. Musicians such as Chris Brown, who famously beat his then girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 was awarded a Grammy award 3 years later, and Eminem who rapped about killing his wife and domestic violence throughout his lyrics was awarded Global Icon in 2013. Actors such as Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn were charged for beating their wives and girlfriends multiple times, yet are seen as icons in film and television for years after the abuse almost condoning their behaviour with no career halt or punishment.
Of course it’s not just women that face abuse but the publicizing and condemning of victims makes it harder for any to speak up at all in fear of how they might be perceived or what they may lose. Celebrities and fans alike have come together to show their support for Kesha through social media, petitions and even boycotting Sony as a way of igniting the need for recognition of tolerance of abuse. Is it up to a judge to say whether or not Kesha was the victim of abuse for years or scrutiny of the public?
It’s with hope from this case that not only Kesha is freed from a contract bound with her past, but that it brings people together to help those in similar situations to not to be afraid to speak up and make a change.