February 26, 2016

When You Question Kesha, You Question All of Us.

YouTube screenshot

I don’t have any Facebook friends who support Trump. I’ve unfriended all my gun-loving relatives.

My newsfeed is a pretty chill, progressive place.

Which is why my stomach dropped when a male Facebook friend shared a post questioning Kesha, who is on a quest to win freedom from her alleged abuser and rapist, producer Dr. Luke.

As I scrolled through the comments, I saw more and more people (mostly men, some women) chime in questioning the validity of her allegations. Long posts about how any woman could just randomly accuse them of rape at any given moment.

When you question whether or not a women was actually raped, you’re questioning every women that ever has been.

When you say Kesha can’t possibly be a victim because she kept working with him, you’re denigrating every woman still in an abusive marriage.

The control and manipulation of an abuser isn’t something you can understand until you’ve been there. And the timeline for someone breaking free involves so many factors that we as outsiders can’t possibly imagine.

It is not our business to question when someone finally finds the strength to get out.

Oh, but if he’s done it once there’s got to be more victims! Ya know, like Bill Cosby.

First of all, every abuser has their first victim. Second, how many years did we all spend laughing at Jello commercials while victim after victim stayed quiet? The word of a woman against a powerful man is (clearly) meaningless. How many victims came forward before the police actually did anything?

Right now only Kesha has spoken out, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other young ingénues who have been too scared or damaged to face off against such a powerful player in pop music.

Oh, but Kesha changed her story over the years!

Remember Elizabeth Smart, the then 14-year-old Utah girl kidnapped from her own bed, chained to a tree and raped daily by her religious zealot captor? She had more than one chance to flee—in fact, she was even asked if she was Elizabeth Smart and she lied about it.

When you’re scared for your life or your livelihood, survival is what matters. Telling the truth doesn’t always seem like the clearest path to safety.

Aside from all the “arguments” people want to use against this one women, here’s what is really making me sick right now: most of Kesha’s audience is young women. I don’t have any adult friends who would admit to buying her songs.

If you think teenage girls aren’t watching and taking this all in, well then you’ve never spent time with a tech-savvy, pop music loving teenager.

I have. And here’s what those girls are learning:

If your friend’s dad touches you inappropriately, but you still go to that friend’s house? Tsk tsk…don’t even bother complaining about it after the fact.

Your first boyfriend slaps you and doesn’t leave a mark? Yawn…come back to us when you have real proof.

Does a toddler only get one shot to tell the truth about the male neighbor who touched her? Speak with conviction and clarity young thing, this is the last time you’ll be believed.

At what age do we let girls know that their voices matter and their bodies are their own?

18? 13? 10? Seven?

This Facebook post made clear that support for Kesha vs. Dr. Luke runs along gender lines. While I’m happy to say that there are plenty of male allies out there, we as women need to start taking each other’s side on this.


Because one out of five of us will be raped in our life.

One out of three of my BFFs will be abused by a romantic partner.

One out of four of my friends was sexually abused as a child.

And I’m going to assume, from personal experience, that every female you or I know has been sexually harassed and sexualized against our will, going back nearly as far as we can remember.

So if you post something defending Dr. Luke and questioning Kesha’s “strategy” or her “expectations” for fleeing an abuser and all your female friends get up in arms…

It’s because right now it’s Kesha.

But tomorrow it could be any one of us.


Author: Ashley Williams

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: YouTube screenshot


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