Tag Archives: Rape

I stand with Kesha

On Friday, February 19, singer and songwriter Kesha Rose Sebert (better known as Ke$ha) lost a bid to be freed from her contract with Sony. Kesha has been in this legal battle for quite some time now and has been fighting hard against a producer that she alleges was both sexually and mentally abusive.

Kesha was a model student in high school. She had perfect SAT scores and was even taking online courses through a nearby university. Kesha dropped out of high school at the age of 18 when she met Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, a world-renowned music producer.

Dr. Luke has worked with many other big names such as Katy Perry, Miranda Cosgrove, and Jessie J. Dr. Luke promised Kesha fame and fortune, recognizing the musical ability she had.

Celebrities on Twitter "stand with Kesha" after the court's decision. Image from mashable.com
Celebrities on Twitter “stand with Kesha” after the court’s decision. Image from mashable.com

Although Dr. Luke delivered his promise when Kesha hit it big with her multi platinum single, “Tik Tok,” Kesha was extremely unhappy with Dr. Luke as her producer.

In details of the lawsuit against Dr. Luke, Kesha was reportedly raped by the producer when he forced her to snort illegal drugs and later gave her “sober pills” which were actually a date-rape drug. Kesha woke up the following afternoon “sore and sick” and immediately called her mother and was taken to the emergency room.

Although it’s not clear why this was never reported to the police, other details in the case may be a sort of breadcrumb trail. Along with the alleged rape, Kesha claimed that Dr. Luke was mentally abusive. He repeatedly called her “fat,” eventually causing her to develop an eating disorder.

Kesha spent time in a rehab facility which specializes in eating disorders and was warned by doctors that Dr. Luke was a toxic force in her life and she needed to stay away from him. However, this is virtually impossible as Dr. Luke holds Kesha’s music career in his hands and avoiding working with him would be extremely difficult.

Kesha has been fighting hard to be freed from her 6-record contract with Sony so that she doesn’t have to work with her alleged rapist and abuser.

Kesha’s bid to be freed from the contract was turned down on the grounds that Kesha has the opportunity to record without having direct contact with Dr. Luke. However, even if Kesha doesn’t have to physically be near Dr. Luke, he would likely produce most of the songs on any new album, meaning they would have to be in contact.

Photos of the singer in court have been making their rounds on the internet. One photo in particular shows a tear-soaked Kesha crying in the back of the courtroom next to her mother as the ruling is announced. One particularly touching photo shows Kesha crying  with a fan in a strong embrace as she exited the courtroom.

Despite the disappointing ruling, the outpour of support for the singer has been overwhelming. Demi Lovato announced her support for Kesha via Twitter, while Taylor Swift reportedly donated $250,000 to Kesha, since her work has been put on hold. Social media has been a vital tool in the growing support for Kesha, with the hashtags #FreeKesha and #IStandWithKesha going viral and producing thousands of memes showing support for the singer.

Although this is one rape case out of many that may never get justice, this case is especially complicated as Kesha’s entire career and livelihood is essentially being held for ransom. Kesha has been extremely strong in the way she’s dealt with the case and offered up details that may have been extremely hard to come to terms with.

So why is it so important that we stand with Kesha? Although her sexual assault may not have been dealt with legally, one can tell that something has been done to Kesha that is causing her to fight so hard and be so visibly emotional.

This is an extremely high profile case, and with that comes people of much less stature who have experienced similar situations who are being exposed to the details of this case. To see Kesha’s strength and to offer support for her is vital not only to the singer, but to rape and abuse victims everywhere. If Dr. Luke weren’t guilty and if he had even an ounce of human decency, wouldn’t he simply step away and allow Kesha to work with a different producer?

Along with rape and abuse, there is a much larger picture we must look at: how the music industry treats its women. Rapper Chris Brown plead guilty in 2009 to a felony charge of assault against his ex-girlfriend, singer Rihanna.

Despite being a violent felon who has committed a heinous crime against another human being, Brown still has a thriving music career and his fans have largely forgiven the incident.

On the other hand, Rihanna said in a 2015 interview with Vanity Fair that she felt she has been repeatedly punished since the incident. For example, the NFL declined to use her and Jay-Z’s hit song, “Run this Town” during an opening-weekend broadcast of a game.

This happened around the time of the Ray Rice incident and many speculate that they didn’t want to use Rihanna’s song because she, like Rice’s wife, was a victim of domestic violence. Also, Zayn Malik, the now ex-member of boyband One Direction was freed from his contract simply because he wasn’t happy in the band anymore.

So why isn’t Kesha being given the same graces? Although there is an outpouring of support for the singer, there are also many harsh criticisms.

As with most unsolved rape cases, many are asking why the rape was never reported to police. Some arguments that I’ve seen against Kesha include allegations that the singer is only bringing up the lawsuit for money. Others criticize her for not continuing to make music, although she does have the option to record.

These criticisms show that there is a still a massive misunderstanding of rape in our culture. Rape often isn’t something that someone can just get over and move on from. Many times, victims experience extreme trauma following the incident. Along with that, it seems Dr. Luke has an extensive history in abusing Kesha. You know when doctors are saying she should stay away from him that there is a real issue.

Despite the fact that the universal understanding of rape is probably very far away, fans and supporters of Kesha need to remain strong. Our justice system has a long history of letting down rape victims, typically because of a lack of physical evidence. However, we need to be vigilant and stand up against a system that has largely failed.

Stand with Kesha, stand with sexual abuse victims.

Free Kesha

Kesha lost her case on Friday against her producer, Dr. Luke, after accusing him of raping her in 2006 and then continuing to abuse her, mentally and physiologically. Kesha went to court in order to ask for a break of contract with the record company, Sony, so she could make music without Dr. Luke. The contract stated that Kesha must stay and make six more albums with Sony as well as Dr. Luke. The judge did not issue for her contract to be cancelled, which forces Kesha to work alongside her rapist and abuser for six more albums, that is, if she can mentally handle making more music with him.

Free Kesha from this ridiculous justice system. Photo from nydailynews.com
Kesha after losing her case against Dr. Luke. Photo from nydailynews.com

What kind of world do we live in where an artist, a woman, has to work with her rapist, has to be legally bound to a man who has ruined her life for the last ten years, because the law says so? Because there wasn’t enough “evidence” to prove Kesha’s story?

What kind of society holds money and power as more important than the wellbeing of a person, of a woman whose dream was to make music for a living and was taken advantage because of it? What kind of professional establishment, a record company, would force its employee to work with a man who raped her, simply because he makes the most money for the label? How does this happen to somehow who has done nothing but good and respectable things for this world? Where is the justice?

Sony claims to have offered Kesha a new producer, someone who can help her make her music that isn’t Dr. Luke; however, what they failed to mention is that if she did choose to changer her producer, the label would refuse to promote the album, which in turn, would make switching producers counterproductive and make it impossible for Kesha to make music in a safe atmosphere.

The legal and justice system has some updating to do. It’s ridiculous that she was denied her break of contract considering the circumstances, and the man who raped her is left off, his left barely affected at all. Kesha and all of the female artists out there who have been through the same situation deserve better than to be put below money and power on the importance totem pole. When it comes down to it, money will be worthless and power will be subjective. People are what matter and the owners of Sony and Dr. Luke need to be reminded of that.

Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer is a documentary series about a man named Steven Avery who lives in Wisconsin. He grew up with is last name being an insult, his whole family being named the “troublemakers” of his county. He has been tormented his entire life by the Manitowoc police, who framed him for crimes he has never committed.

He was an easy target, simply because of his family’s reputation. His cousin, who hated Avery, was married to a sheriff on the police force who framed Avery for a rape he didn’t commit. After 18 years of being in prison, he was found innocent for the rape, DNA evidence was “found” that proved Avery didn’t commit the crime. The police had this DNA evidence in file but refused to bring the evidence forward because they wanted to keep Avery in prison. The torture doesn’t end there. Two years after Avery is found innocent and is out of prison, he is framed for murder.

Steven Avery, the first time he was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Photo from gazettereview
Steven Avery, the first time he was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Photo from gazettereview

Steven Avery was framed for the murder of a woman named Teresa Walbach, who was a photojournalist who came to Avery’s Auto shop, run by him and his family, to take pictures of the vehicles that they were selling.

After Walbach came to the Avery plot, she was reported missing and was later found in the back of Avery’s land, buried haphazardly. Later on, evidence was found all over his property, but only after the Manitowoc police hadn’t found anything. There are too many suspicious activities that occurred to state them all, but it’s obvious to anyone watching that the police set up Avery to take the fall for the murder.

The police had a motive to frame Avery. Avery was suing the police department for the time he lost while in prison for the rape he didn’t commit. Three weeks before Avery was suppose to receive the money, this woman went missing and, unfortunately, was murdered and placed on Avery’s property. It was astonishing to see all of the illegal events that the police did and how those weren’t taken into account when proving Avery’s innocence. Avery is still in prison and is going to serve a life sentence for another crime he didn’t commit.

I strongly recommend going to Netflix and watching the ten episode series titled “Making a Murderer.” It’s eye opening and amazing what can happen to an innocent man through the corrupt justice system and authority given to the wrong people.

Not all men, but all women

The other night on Radford’s Yik Yak, I saw a post about a sober young man who was confused — if not a little bitter — as to why a drunk girl wouldn’t let him help get her home safe.

As a woman who is well aware of the sexual assault statistics in the U.S., especially the ones between college kids our age, I was appalled by just how upset this anonymous poster seemed, and even more slack-jawed when I read the comment on the post and saw the 25 thumbs up rating, all of which confirmed the chastising of the girl for not taking the offered help, and praising the man for taking such a chivalrous action.

1 in 5 college women. Graphic from Mother Jones
1 in 5 college women. Graphic from Mother Jones

Of course, I stepped in and offered my two cents: the statistics show that 1 of five women in college alone will be sexually assaulted and that fact alone only confirms what’s been imprinted in a woman’s mind; that men are very dangerous entities. In the end, I received three thumbs up and two thumbs down, coming to an exasperating +1. This leads me to wonder just how many people know the true inner workings of the female mind.

Lately, the word on everyone’s lips has been feminism. Whether seen as a generally good term or a generally bad term — depending on who you are, where you come from, and what your directions your life has been led — tons of women, especially celebrities, are picking up the “f” word. However, it seems that many are still missing the point. We can look anywhere and find slut shaming. It’s a notion that starts in girls from an early age; we see women who are promiscuous and automatically equate them to lesser, dirty beings who aren’t worth what we are. It’s depicted in movies, it’s talked about in the streets, and it’s incorporated into our vocabulary. “Whore,” “slut,” “hoe,” have all become slurs that adults and children use on the daily to describe women they don’t like, without really understanding the negative and frankly dangerous effects it has on society. For this, women are often blamed for things they have no control over, one of the biggest being sexual assault.

According to RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network, an astounding 68% of sexual assaults are never reported, while a heartbreaking 98% of rapists walk free. And people continue to wonder why women find men so terrifying?

News Discovery has reported that the odds of a shark attack is 1 in an estimated 11.5 million, while rape statistics such as the ones reported from One In Four USA say that one in four women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. And yet, it is more ‘rational’ to have a fear of sharks than to have a fear of men. Now, don’t get me wrong. All women know that not all men are dangerous, but it doesn’t ever help that most rape and sexual assault reports come from people we know.

So guys, next time you wish to shame a girl for not taking offered help while she is at her most vulnerable, walking home alone, in the dark, drunk out of her mind, remember what world she lives in; where she’s not even safe from the people she trusts the most.

Art under attack

Rape, murder, and arson flood the airwaves. Flagrant disregard for the sanctity of human life clog television screens. Iraq and Syria are buried in rubble, and perched on top of the ruins like flocks of vultures is the Islamic State. Dust from destroyed homes, places of worship, and businesses coats everything in a fine gritty film. The landscape is so foreign it might as well be the moon.

Sadly, it’s not just modern trappings of domesticity that have been incinerated by ISIS’ vicious wave of terror. Mixed amongst glass windows, steel beams, and cement cinderblocks are millennia of priceless relics from the ancient world. For nigh on a year, Islamic State militants have been toppling, drilling, and torching irreplaceable pieces of art all over Syria and Iraq.

art under attack
“Mixed amongst glass windows, steel beams, and cement cinderblocks are millennia of priceless relics from the ancient world.”

Only last month in August, ISIS succeeded in blowing up the best preserved temple in Palmyra, Syria; which had previously survived almost 2,000 years of turmoil. The story for other artifacts is similar. Statues, reliefs, paintings all had managed to withstand the brutal tests of time; holding out against wars, erosion, and the black market. Monuments to the awe inspiring color and complexity of the Ancient Near East decimated where they reside. Museums and their staff bombed, ties to our collective past shredded. The horrors being committed by these religious extremists are numerous and unspeakable. The devastation and despair being inflicted onto hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians can not be understated. Flesh and blood are worth more than limestone and lapis lazuli ever will. However, when the basic principles of our collective humanity are being systematically turned into gravel, when the bedrock of our past and the eyeglass to our future lies in potholes, and the world’s heritage is actively threatened  by men who are so frightened of the idea of a world where things are not black and white that they are willing to kill the scholars who protect the greyscale? Then we as a global community must come together.

Dr. Khaled al- As’ad was a world renowned Syrian professor of antiquities, who spent his entire career preserving the Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra. When ISIS demanded he lead them to the temple’s greatest treasures, the 82 year old refused. Khaled al- As’ad was beheaded on August 19, 2015 for protecting the past, maintaining the present, and ultimately, preserving the future for generations to come.

From Our Perspective: Yes Means Yes & Campus Safety

 

In our first podcast of the semester, we tackle the issue of sexual assault from all angles. We’ve got a little bit of the celebrity nude leak, we’ve got a little bit of the Californian ‘Yes Means Yes’ law, and more.

Most importantly of all, we beg the question, do you feel safe at night at Radford? Send us your feedback and you might just get a shout-out on our next podcast!

We are talking about California's "Yes Means Yes" law. Graphic from Kalb
We are talking about California’s “Yes Means Yes” law. Graphic from Kalb

Should we publicly humiliate sex offenders on campus?

If you’ve been going to RU for a year or more, you know what happens when an incident occurs on campus. We get a vague email describing the incident and stating that more information will be provided, although it rarely comes. When one of these incidents involves someone being sexually assaulted, there’s always a little warning on the bottom of these emails that says something along the lines of, “stay aware of your surroundings and always tell someone where you’re going.”

Although I realize that there are terrible people in the world, I can’t help but wonder— if we publicly embarrassed the scumbags who commit these crimes instead of punishing them privately, wouldn’t that deter people from committing these crimes?

police
“Although I would be satisfied if the assailant’s punishment was plastered all over the news as a warning.”

I know that those who are apprehended for sexual assault face big consequences,  but we usually don’t hear about them. I would appreciate it a lot more if RU sent emails once the criminal was caught with a picture and name attached. I know this is probably against some privacy policy, but these bastards have invaded privacy in the most extreme way and don’t deserve for anything that happens to them to be private. In my dream world, those who commit sexual assault would be either exiled or castrated. But we don’t live in the medieval ages, I suppose. Although I would be satisfied if the assailant’s punishment was plastered all over the news as a warning. Regardless, something needs to be done other than telling girls to be “aware of their surroundings.” No one should have to live in fear when they step out of their home.

Going beyond just warning girls to be safe, why are women who are assaulted always asked what they were wearing when the incident occured? I know of several cases where people I know personally have been attacked, and one of the first questions they’re asked is, “were you drunk?” It shouldn’t matter what someone was wearing or if they were black-out drunk. Just because a girl shows some skin doesn’t mean she’s “asking for it.” And if anyone, male or female, is too drunk to give consent, they should be taken home or somewhere safe, given a glass of water and some Tylenol and be left safe in their bed (unless, of course, they’re throwing up.)

With the recent assumed abduction of a female University of Virginia student, many people are posting on Facebook warning others to “always tell a friend where they’re going.” I usually try to text a friend and let them know where I am in case I have a little too much to drink and need someone to help me walk home, but I’m never thinking, “in case someone abducts me.” It’s more or less so I don’t get in trouble myself (sorry, mom).

Although attacks do happen at RU, I’ve always felt safe here. Maybe I’m just naive and like to believe the world’s a safe place, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to feel that way. I think the justice system should make us feel safe, not leave us wondering if we’re safe or not because these people who commit such heinous crimes aren’t being punished publicly. I truly believe making consequences public can deter criminals and make people realize they can’t ignore their mistakes.

Sexual assault and survivors

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; it’s only appropriate to explore the effects of sexual assault on that victim’s mental health. Individuals who have experienced sexual assault are three times more likely to develop a psychiatric disorder. These disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Continue reading Sexual assault and survivors

Controversial comedy and a feminist fiasco

Comedian Daniel Tosh, host of Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0″, became the center of a social media blowout this summer. Tosh was performing standup at The Laugh Factory, when he greatly offended a female attendee. Chaos ensued after Daniel Tosh made a rape joke allegedly targeting this member of the audience. Continue reading Controversial comedy and a feminist fiasco