Tik Tok on The Cock

Tick Toc

Beloved pop artist Kesha has been garnering a lot of attention recently in the media as her charges against famed music producer Dr. Luke finally came to head last Friday. The 28 year old singer-songwriter filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke in October of 2014, which aimed to sever her contract with Dr. Luke and his business subsidiaries on the basis that he had physically, emotionally and sexually abused her over the course of their professional relationship. The judge however, ruled that Kesha’s contract was binding and that she would have to deliver on the six albums she owed Sony before she could be legally freed. Social media then exploded after this ruling with thousands of fans tweeting “#FreeKesha” and celebrities as well took up the cry, although those who chose to speak out were exclusively female. Which begs the question another female artist once proposed, where have all the good men gone?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or have managed to somehow abstain from social media in 2016, Kesha’s trial has produced significant controversy. A victim comes forth after nearly a decade of mental and physical abuse, and she is greeted with hostility and disbelief. She is punished by the public for not catching her abuser in the act instead of the abuser being punished for the actual abuse. Those who choose to give Kesha their love and support throughout this ordeal have been exclusively female, with their male counterparts remaining deafeningly silent. And from the ruling last Friday, it has been determined that it is more important to respect a man’s investment than a person’s freedom and well-being. Many are aghast that she has had to endure ten years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and celebrate her for finally speaking out about it. Others however, are, to be put charitably, less congratulatory.

Talk show host and perpetuator of ignorant opinions Wendy Williams did a segment in which Kesha’s traumatizing ordeal was introduced as a “juicy Hollywood scoop!” According to Wendy, the judge’s ruling was fair because “if everybody complained because somebody allegedly sexually abused them, contracts would be broken all the time” and that Kesha was no “spring chicken” and thus should have known better. Because we all know that older and wiser people are never raped or taken advantage of. Apparently “Men are so stupid, that if you’re sexually abusing us, it’s so easy to catch you.” Thank God Wendy informed us of this, just think of how many potential victims she saved from being sexually assaulted! Wendy goes on to say that if Kesha really had been abused, then she should have come forth a lot sooner. It’s not like Dr. Luke has been consistently weeding away her self-esteem and worth since she was 18 years old, or that he is a well-known music producer who has worked with artists like Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Miley Cryus, and thus exerts considerable influence in the music industry. To top that all off, Kesha claims that after the rapes (as there were two that took place at separate times), Dr. Luke threatened not only her career, but her life and her family’s life as well should she ever speak out. Unfortunately, Kesha didn’t have Wendy’s insightful advice at the time and had to suffer in silence for ten years.

Thankfully, Wendy is not the only voice on the scene but what is disturbing is that the only voices have been predominantly female. Artists like Lady Gaga, Lorde, Halsey and Lily Allen have been lighting social media on fire with their supportive and encouraging tweets to Kesha. However, feminist icon and popstar Taylor Swift was mysteriously silent on the issue until enough people chose to point out her lack of a stance. Many stated that feminism only mattered to Taylor Swift when an award was being presented and after enough heckling, Taylor Swift donated $250 000 to Kesha to help with her legal fees. While calling Taylor Swift out on her silence is good, why has no one thrown the same shade on male artists like Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith?  With the exception of Troye Sivan, Tyler Oakley, Brad Walsh, Perfume Genius, and Jack Antonoff, male celebrities have been unsurprisingly silent on the issue.

This is not unusual, as it is unfortunately common for men in the public eye to remain as voiceless as the victims of these heinous crimes, but why do we shame Taylor Swift for not speaking up when her male counterparts rarely, if ever, do? Many female artists who gave support to Kesha did so in an evasive, noncommittal manner such as Kelly Clarkson tweeting “If I don’t have anything nice to say…” and Iggy Azalea writing, “I’m not accusing anyone of anything but…” These women understand that the music industry is controlled by men, and their careers are determined by these men so speaking out can understandably be very difficult. However, as a male artist, one obviously has the upper hand in that the power structure of the industry is created by and for men. Yet none but a small few have stepped forward to show their stance on Kesha’s case and to a wider scale, on sexual assault cases. This silence cannot be tolerated in this day and age, and it’s an outrage that men in the music industry don’t feel obligated or pressured like women do to show support on issues like sexual assault. They are in a position to help and promote a real difference yet prefer to sit on the sidelines, which only goes to strengthen the misconceived ideas that sexual assault and violence against women is singularly a woman’s issue. By maintaining this silence, they not only damage Kesha’s case but those of all men and women who undergo this abuse and feel like reporting it is futile, that they don’t deserve a voice, and even if they did, who would hear them?

It’s time to break the silence. It’s time for everyone to recognize that what has happened to Kesha (and many others) is not okay and should not be tolerated in society. It’s frightening that still today people choose to remain silent in light of abhorrent crimes rather than get involved and possibly make a difference. It’s not okay that only female artists have been pressured to give a statement on sexual abuse, but men in the industry are allowed to remain mute and impassive. Change can only be successful if everyone helps out and the time has come for everyone to lend a hand.

 

Micah Carruthers

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