The Way Kesha's Alleged Sexual Assault Has Affected Her Emphasizes How Hard It Is For Victims To Speak Out
The complicated situation surrounding Kesha and her career. On Wednesday, Kesha discussed the affects of her alleged sexual assault in a profile with The New York Times. She's been vocal in the past about the claims she's made against music producer Dr. Luke (aka Lukasz Gottwald), but now the 29-year-old singer is being even more open about her claims, and her words speak to the idea that alleged victims have a hard time voicing their claims. "As you grow up and you grow awareness, some say ignorance is bliss, and in some ways, it is, but once you realize and you gain knowledge, it’s there, and you can’t deny it," she told the Times. "And now I’m very much aware of things that I wasn’t before, and it keeps me more accountable for my actions."
Based on that particular quote, it seems like Kesha refuses to sit back and be quiet in her life. She first came foward with her claims against Dr. Luke in October 2014 and sued the producer, alleging sexual assault and emotional abuse. Dr. Luke then filed a countersuit for defamation and his lawyers claimed that Kesha was "engaged in a campaign of publishing outrageous and untrue statements about Dr. Luke... in an attempt to extort [him] into releasing Kesha from her exclusive recording agreement with Dr. Luke."
In August, Kesha dropped her sexual assault case in California against the music producer, which she filed in 2014. Per Rolling Stone, a judge dismissed Kesha's sexual abuse claims against Dr. Luke in New York in April, but continues with appeals regarding that case. Sony didn't have a comment for Bustle at the time of Kesha dropping her case, but Dr. Luke's rep told us:
If Kesha is voluntarily dismissing her claims in the California case, it is because she has no chance of winning them. Earlier this year, she lost her meritless counterclaims against Dr. Luke in the New York Action. Recently, the California Court invited Dr. Luke and the other defendants to move to dismiss Kesha’s claims in that action. Kesha never should have brought her false and meritless claims against Dr. Luke in any court. Dr. Luke’s defamation and other claims against Kesha are still proceeding.
Seeing as Kesha claims Dr. Luke sexually assaulted in her 2005, some may be wondering why she waited so long (nine years, according to her claim) to come forward with her sexual assault allegations, but it isn't rare for alleged sexual assault victims to stay quiet.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), there are a slew of reasons why victims don't report sexual assault. Between 2005 and 2010, 20 percent of survivors said they feared retaliation and 13 percent believed police wouldn't do anything to help.
RAINN also reports that "33 percent of women who are raped contemplate suicide" and "13 percent of women who are raped attempt suicide," which is an idea Kesha spoke to in her NYT profile. In January 2014, she checked herself into a treatment facility for an eating disorder. She claims her eating disorder stemmed from Dr. Luke allegedly criticizing her weight. "I was under immense pressure to starve myself," she told NYT. "And I tried to and almost killed myself in the process."
In October 2014, BuzzFeed discovered that Kesha had discussed her abuse claims in letters written to fans while she was in rehab in January and nine months before she filed her lawsuit against Dr. Luke. "Someone I work with has literally driven me into this disease, tortured me and f*cked with me and my family," one of her letters claimed. Dr. Luke's lawyer, Christine Lepera, responded with a statement saying that Kesha's allegations in the letters were "spectacular and outrageous fiction."
Kesha also took to Instagram Wednesday after her NYT profile went live. Alongside a photo from it, she wrote a lengthy caption that highlights how she has felt that her voice has been silenced for far too long. She wrote,
thank you to the New York Times for shedding light on my life and legal situation. there's nothing harder than dreaming and working and fighting for something your whole entire life, since you were 3 years old, since you could speak. and you FINALLY achieve it. and then have someone else take it away from you. my heart has a giant hole in it and is literally aching and throbbing from sadness and loss. imagine someone owning your voice... and not letting you sing. singing is how I have dealt with everything in my life. and my right has been taken away.
Dr. Luke's lawyer has responded to The New York Times piece on Kesha with a lengthy statement (via Entertainment Weekly), which reads in part:
The New York Times Magazine profile piece that ran today unfortunately has many inaccuracies. This article is part of a continuing coordinated press campaign by Kesha to mislead the public, mischaracterize what has transpired over the last two years, and gain unwarranted sympathy.
In addition to her sexual assault and emotional abuse claims, Kesha also wanted to break her contract with Dr. Luke, but a judge ruled that wasn't possible in February. That same month, the music producer's lawyer released a statement to Rolling Stone, which reads in part: "The New York County Supreme Court on Friday found that Kesha is already 'free' to record and release music without working with Dr. Luke as a producer if she doesn’t want to. Any claim that she isn’t 'free' is a myth." Sony also commented on the ruling of the contract in February. The company's lawyer told The New York Times in February,
Sony has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever, but Sony is not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha. Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.
Update: Sony released the following statement to Bustle following Kesha's NYT article: "RCA has been working with Kesha and Kemosabe Records over the past few months in order to facilitate the process of Kesha recording her next album. Creating a new album takes time, and everyone’s goal is to deliver a high quality album consistent with Kesha’s past releases. RCA executives have been in regular contact with Kemosabe Records and Kesha’s representatives to keep the process moving forward. RCA and Kemosabe Records have recently provided a list of producers with whom Kesha has agreed to work. We hope to share exciting new music with Kesha’s fans soon.