By Tess Fox
The story continues. No, I’m not talking about the continuation of Star Wars. I’m referencing the continuing saga of Kesha’s mistreatment by the broken U.S. legal system.
If you missed the beginning of Kesha’s legal fight, you should read more about it.
On April 6, the judge presiding over her rape case against her producer dismissed it. The statute of limitations had run out on the events she included in her lawsuit. The judge also believed that the charges involving hate crimes could not stand, adding an interesting comment: “Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.”
Okay. Let’s all take a deep breath and try to be calm. I’m struggling with this statement too, it’s alright.
So when women are threatened with rape because they are gamers, is that a hate-crime? From what I’ve seen, women are generally raped because they’re women. A hate crime is defined as: “Hate crime generally refers to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the types above, or of their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults or offensive graffiti or letters.”
Rape is a criminal act, usually motivated by bias and is a form of physical assault.
Comment below if you believe I’m wrong, but I think rape is a hate crime.
In addition to rape, Kesha said that Dr. Luke, her producer with Sony Records, was verbally abusive, a bully and harassed her endlessly (all of which fall into the definition of a hate crime.) It fascinates me that the judge said this, “Gottwald is alleged to have made offensive remarks about Kesha’s weight, appearance, and talent, not about women in general.”
Allowing one person to get away with making such remarks furthers sexism and inequality. Abusive language to ANY woman is unacceptable.
So let’s talk statute of limitations. It is defined as “a law which forbids prosecutors from charging someone with a crime that was committed more than a specified number of years ago. The general purpose of statutes of limitation is to make sure convictions occur only upon evidence (physical or eyewitness) that has not deteriorated with time.”
I understand why the law exists. Bad evidence is a waste of taxpayer money and time. It makes sense. But in many cases, the statute of limitations is a short amount of time. Many victims do not disclose immediately, or ever. If a woman finally feels ready to tell someone about her rape one year after, it could be too late to begin searching for her rapist. Granted, there’s a chance that the physical evidence will be nonexistent, but criminal and civil courts require different levels of evidence. More on civil courts later.
In Idaho, there is no statute of limitations on rape, woohoo! Go Idaho! In Colorado, survivors have three years. Georgia residents get 15 years, but murder has no limits. Rape and murder are different things and I’m no lawyer, but if rape charges are limited on the basis of preserving physical and eyewitness evidence, shouldn’t murder?
Last week, Kesha was (presumably) offered a way out of her contract with Sony. But there’s a catch.
“so. I got offered my freedom IF i were to lie. I would have to APOLOGIZE publicly and say that I never got raped,” Kesha said in an Instagram post. “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS behind closed doors. I will not take back the TRUTH. I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again.”
Dr. Luke’s spokespeople have denied everything in a release to Huffington Post.
Here’s the thing. Maybe I’m naturally inclined to believe her because we’re both women. We have to stick up for each other, because if women don’t support women, who will? But I think my support goes further than “rah rah sisterhood women together” stuff. She has maintained these allegations through
In her Instagram post mentioned above, she said, “I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again.”
Those are not the words of a woman who was rejected, or doesn’t like her producer, or is looking for attention. Those are the words of a woman who has been victimized and abused for years and is sick of it. She is willing to never record another album ever again if it means denying her rape didn’t happen. In general, women who are lying, don’t put their careers on the line like that.
The need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt works great in cases like murder, theft and other crimes. But rape? It’s a grey area. Each case has its own finicky details and special circumstances.
In a story from Rewire, a woman recounted being told that her case had insufficient evidence, despite having a full rape kit consistent with assault. She sought civil court instead. Civil cases require the convincing of a jury or a judge that something went afoul. The bar is much lower and victims often feel more empowered coming out of civil court. Only two percent of rapists ever serve jail time.
Kesha’s case also brings up the issue of stigma surrounding women who stand up and say they were . The statement from Dr. Luke proves stigma is still real. Instead of a neutral statement saying they await an official court ruling, the statement drags Kesha down, calling her a liar and saying she just wants attention. I think she just wants some sort of justice for all of the pain and horrible things she dealt with because of this man.
Kesha is being put through the wringer for coming forward and is handling it with grace.
In a Facebook post she said:
“All I ever wanted was to be able to make music without being afraid, scared, or abused. This case has never been about a renegotiation of my record contract – it was never about getting a bigger, or a better deal. This is about being free from my abuser. I would be willing to work with Sony if they do the right thing and break all ties that bind me to my abuser. But at this point, this issue is bigger than just about me. I think about young girls today – I don’t want my future daughter – or your daughter – or any person to be afraid that they will be punished if they speak out about being abused, especially if their abuser is in a position of power. Unfortunately I don’t think that my case is giving people who have been abused confidence that they can speak out, and that’s a problem.
But I just want to say that if you have been abused, please don’t be afraid to speak out. There are places that will make you feel safe. There are people who will help you. I for one, will stand beside you and behind you. I know now how this all feels and will forever fight for you the way perfect strangers have been fighting for me.”
I can only hope that Kesha is able to find a way out of this situation. It’s disappointing frankly, but I’ve come to expect the mistreatment of rape survivors from the justice system.