#FreeKesha – in retrospect


February 19, 2016 was a lachrymal day for singer, Kesha Rose Sorbet as the New York Supreme Court denied her release from her music contract with producer and alleged abuser, Dr. Luke. The singer signed to Dr. Luke’s music publishing company at the age of eighteen. Nine years later, on October 14, 2014, she sued him with accusations of physical and verbal abuse and more specifically, drugging and raping her. The lawsuit claimed that doctors concluded any subsequent work with Dr. Luke would be “life-threatening” as he had left her “physically and psychologically damaged”. Dr. Luke denies all allegations and his countersuit accuses Kesha and her mother of mendacious vilifications in an attempt to dispel her contract.

After Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, multitudes of people, including celebrities like Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga, took to social media, birthing the hashtag #FreeKesha, to express their support for Kesha, animosity for the sexism, lack of support for rape, sexual assault, and abuse victims ubiquitous in the music industry and in our society. A comparison was made by many between Kesha’s situation and Chris Brown’s physical assault of then girlfriend, Rihanna in 2009. Despite Dr Luke being the abuser, he is able to have a thriving, unlimited music career, while Kesha, as the victim, is unable to create as she pleases. After two months in rehabilitation because of an eating disorder, sparked by her producer’s disparaging comments about her weight, her career is still legally bound to him and her abuser is protected by the industry receiving no consequence.

This is a quintessential example of our society’s blatant disregard and lack of sympathy for abuse victims. A study done by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network shows 293000 Americans are victims of sexual assault each year, yet 60% of cases are never reported and 98% of rapists never see a day in jail or prison. Kesha’s story is only a rarity in that she chose to speak out.