Last Friday, a New York State Supreme Court said that even though Kesha was allegedly physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by her former producer Lukasz Gottwald (stage name: Dr. Luke), she has to stay bound to that contract if she ever wants to work in music again. In her twice-weekly feminist newsletter, Lenny Letter, Lena Dunham wrote an essay about how Kesha's case is not just about a musician being forced to work with her alleged abuser, but the nature of distrust of victims and mishandling of all sexual assault cases.
Dunham, who herself is a survivor of sexual assault, explains how the New York State Supreme Court's ruling resonated with her on a personal level:
When I saw the outcome of Kesha's court case last Friday, I felt sick. Actually sick — I wanted to ask my Uber to pull over so I could throw up in a New York City trash can. The photos of her beautiful face crumpled with tears, the legally necessary but sickening use of the word "alleged" over and over in reference to the assault she says she remembers so vividly — it all created a special brand of nausea that comes when public events intersect with your most private triggers.
She also explains how the lessons of this case read for the criminal justice system and its persistent negligence of victims of abuse. Abuse cases, unlike the murders on Law and Order, often do not have a lot of the hard evidence that a judge depends on. But that should not mean that victims should be left to suffer.
The fact is, Kesha will never have a doctor's note. She will never have a videotape that shows us that Gottwald threatened and shamed her, and she will never be able to prove, beyond the power of her testimony, that she is unsafe doing business with this man. And no, none of this was in her contract. But what man, what company endeavors to keep a woman saddled with someone who she says has caused her years of trauma, shame, and fear? Fighting this fight publicly and in the legal system has already changed the course and tenor of her career forever. The lack of perspective on the part of Sony — the inability to look at the worth of a woman's platinum records versus the worth of her soul being intact — is horrifying.
You can read the full essay at Lenny Letter.