Kesha’s story and its impact on rape culture

Katie Dugan

Rape culture is an aspect of the American society that is talked about extensively but little is done to change the statistics. A recent, striking example of rape culture is Kesha’s court case against her producer and abuser, Dr. Luke. Kesha claimed that on her 18 birthday, he drugged and raped her which led to her courr case. A New York Judge who denied Kesha a court injunction that would have allowed her to record new music outside of her record label, Sony Music, shut this claim down last week. Since the injunction was denied, Kesha must create new music with her abuser.

Kesha’s mother, Pepe Sebert told People Magazine that Dr. Luke had pressured her daughter to lose weight and even compared her to a refrigerator. Dr. Luke affected Kesha so much that she had to go to rehab in early 2014 for an eating disorder.

While the outcome of this court case was insurmountably disheartening, it speaks volumes about rape culture in our society. According to The Huffington Post, it’s estimated that more than half of sexual assault cases go unreported. Moreover, many people seem to find it difficult to understand the victim’s trauma, just like how many refuse to understand Kesha. However, Kesha’s story supplies some insight into the issue of American culture due to the amount of publicity she has received.

The abuse against Kesha started when she was just beginning to receive recognition for her talent. If she had reported the wrongdoing in the beginning, not only would she have difficulty achieving her dreams but most likely, no one would believe her like some skeptics are doing now. It has been almost nine years since Dr. Luke first took advantage of her and still the society we live in continues to prioritize a man’s reputation over a woman’s well being.

But even with the amount of skeptics out there, Kesha has received outpouring support from her fan base. Unfortunately, many women haven’t been as lucky as her. In late 2012, college student Erica Kinsman accused FSU quarterback Jameis Winston of rape. The backlash Kinsman received was appalling. No one would believe her story because her assailant was a well-liked football player. Again, a reputation was put first before the well being of an innocent victim.

Since the publicity began, Kesha has declined to speak to reporters but that hasn’t stopped dozens of celebrities from speaking up for her and providing support.

In a recent Instagram post, Lady Gaga brought up the stigma of victim-shaming saying, “The very reason women don’t speak up for years is the fear that no one will believe them or their abuser has threatened their life or life of loved ones/livelihood to keep their victim quiet and under control.” Lady Gaga, who was sexually assaulted when she was 19, has always been an advocate for victims of sexual assault.

Furthering the misunderstanding of rape culture in the U.S., Amber Rose perfectly addressed sexual consent on Tyrese Gibson and Rev. Run’s relationship series “It’s Not You, It’s Men.” Gibson suggested that women might be asking for sexual attention by giving off certain “energy.” Rose fired back by saying “If I’m laying down with a man, butt-naked, and his condom is on, and I say ‘You know what? I changed my mind. I don’t want to do this.’ That means no.”

Rose realized how fired up she was getting and clarified her anger was not personally directed at Rev. Run and Tyrese. “I’m not mad at y’all,” she said, “that’s how society raised all of us.”

The insensitivity to Kesha’s case is an outrage. Sexual predators are going to see that Dr. Luke may face no consequences, and that can provoke others to think that they can successfully rape without consequence. If the act of raping someone was taken more seriously, with more sympathy and options given to the victims, it wouldn’t be so easy to get away with. If so few rapes are reported and even fewer convicted, what concern are rapists left with?

That sad truth is, dozens of studies have shown that 1 in 4  women will be raped in college. And if you never were raped, it’s suggested that you know someone who was. However, all we can do now is show support for Kesha and the victims of sexual assault everywhere.