Friday, we were once again faced with the depressing reality of our society’s opinion of rape. Kesha sought an injunction to allow her to make music outside of her six-album contract with Luke Gottwald’s Kemosabe Records, a subsidiary of Sony, after accusing him of subjecting her to years of emotional and sexual abuse.
However, a New York Supreme Court justice denied an injunction, forcing Kesha to remain shackled to her accused attacker. The judge declared Sony would suffer irreversible harm if Kesha did not follow through on her contract. The justice stated that nullifying the singers deal would challenge the state’s laws regarding contracts.
Of course, Gottwald denied the charges and his lawyer stated the allegations “were asserted solely to extort money and gain contractual leverage.”
While some people believe this assertion, the rest assume Kesha is telling the truth. The hashtag #FreeKesha has been trending all over social media as hundreds of thousands of fans tweeted their support.
She hasn’t released an album in over three years and is doing everything she can to avoid working with her producer. Instead, she is practically giving up her career rather than working with Gottwald again.
Obviously, rape is a very difficult charge to prove, especially if the victim was threatened into silence like Kesha claims to have been. If the victim does not immediately report the incident to the authorities, it is nearly impossible to provide evidence proving the wrongdoing.
But it is not an accusation that should be swept under the rug, either. A survey from the Association of American Universities showed that one in five women in college would be sexually assaulted.
An investigation by CBS News found that of the incidents reported, only 25 percent of rapists were arrested for their crimes. The unfortunate reality is that victims are not taken seriously.
“She was asking for it dressed like that,” or “well she was drinking pretty heavily that night, so was it really rape?” are common phrases we’ve grown up hearing our entire lives.
Girls are scared to go out alone at night for fear of being attacked, yet they are faced with the double standard that if they are and speak out about it, no one will believe them.
“Well she never said ‘no,’ so technically it wasn’t rape.” News flash: The absence of “no” does not mean yes. The moment society realizes the meaning of consent, victims will begin to see justice and hopefully attackers will realize their crimes will be taken seriously.
After Friday’s verdict, celebrities and fans alike began expressing their support and love for the pop star. One major supporter was Lady Gaga, who, released a video showcasing the reality of sexual assault and encouraging victims to seek help and not be afraid to break their silence in September.
After the ruling, fans announced they would no longer be purchasing any Sony products until Gottwald is fired. One boycott has already reached over 200,000 signatures from fans swearing to completely refrain from buying music or products from the company.
The public opinion of rape is slowly starting to change as more and more people begin to recognize it truly is an issue. After all, advocacy is the first step in altering a mindset.
On college campuses, organizations like the Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention are starting to make a difference in how students handle sexual assault.
Unfortunately, the Public Religion Research Institute still found that “six of 10 respondents say colleges and universities are not doing enough to address sexual assault.”
The fight for true justice for rape victims is slowly beginning to make progress. However, Friday’s verdict made it abundantly clear that true change is still miles away.
Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.