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Don’t ever forget #FreeKesha

Forgetting what happened to Kesha and letting the uproar die like every other hashtag means another victim has been forgotten.

Over the last few months, Kesha has gained massive worldwide support following a devastating legal battle against her producer, Dr. Luke. Throughout, she’s demonstrated incredible strength and has stuck to her guns. By refusing to lie about her abuse, Kesha is giving money-hungry corporations a giant middle finger – and showing the world that it’s okay to be vocal.

At Coachella, Kesha showed her “true colors” – performing her rendition of the song in a stunning surprise performance with Zedd, one of the many artists who reached out to work with her after a judge shot down her plea to break contractual ties with Dr. Luke, her producer and abuser. Fans rejoiced to see her performing, but in the wake of a very harsh ruling from an NY judge, the behind-the-scenes were ugly, to say the least.

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In October of 2014, Kesha filed suit against Dr. Luke, in which she revealed he physically and emotionally abused her, and raped her a least once. In February of this year, Kesha’s preliminary injunction of her contract with Sony and Dr. Luke was denied. A massive media storm ensued, with #FreeKesha gaining traction worldwide, with thousands of fans and several celebrities declaring solidarity with the star.

Let’s be real – this injustice is definitely a gender issue. We can all recall a number of other men with ugly rap sheets – those which include domestic violence and sexual crimes –  who still maintain successful careers in the music industry. So many men in the limelight have been less-than-model citizens and remain adored, and yet a victim remains at the mercy of her abuser. What’s up with that, Hollywood?

The situation grew more grim after NY Justice Shirley W. Kornriech ruled Kesha’s abuse claims as “too old” in early April. Justice Kornriech dismantled the entire case – and gave a ruling that spoke volumes about the vicious power of wealth and media conglomerates. All eight of Kesha’s counterclaims were dismissed – and not without the reinforcement of rape culture and sexism in the justifying rhetoric. Kornreich attacked all the technicalities, stating Kesha’s “alleged” discrimination occurred outside of the state of New York, that the statute of limitations had passed, and that there was a lack of evidence.

And then Justice Kornriech set us all back 100 years with the following statement: 

“Although Gottwald’s alleged actions were directed to Kesha, who is female, [her claims] do not allege that Gottwald harbored animus toward women or was motivated by gender animus when he allegedly behaved violently toward Kesha.” [source] 

Rape, this judge says, is not gender motivated. 

Although some of the fire behind the #FreeKesha movement has subsided, this most recent ruling and statement made by the judge could mean that the worst has yet to come. Kornreich’s ruling creates an atmosphere for rape culture to be more widely accepted, and has created a precedent for future cases.

Kesha later posted on Instagram that she was offered her freedom (from contractual obligations with Sony) under the condition she retract her claims. In simple terms – if Kesha publicly said “I lied” or “I made it all up”, the contract would be eradicated.  Fear not – Kesha wasn’t having any of that.

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Forgetting what happened to Kesha and letting the uproar die like every other hashtag means another victim has been forgotten. Rape culture perseveres when the victims become the accused. It strikes me so odd that cases of rape can be discounted for lack of evidence so often. Should victims attempt to record the attack? What measures have to be taken for justice?

We live in a society where 68 percent of rapes go unreported, and 98 percent of reported rapists walk free amongst us. Even if Kesha’s contract were to be nullified – Dr. Luke would live free an unscathed among the other 98 percent. Even if Kesha could record for any label, she has already been scoffed by society in a major way. The rulings in this case have made it clear the world is still silencing victims from every walk of life.