Many women in our society are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse.
There were 27 reported rapes on campus in 2014. This is the highest that has been recorded in the previous two years, according UVM’s 2015 Annual Security report
Women are encouraged to speak up about these traumatic experiences, but their claims are sometimes denied and attributed as false.
Pop star Kesha recently filed a lawsuit against her producer, Dr. Luke. She reported that he drugged, raped and verbally abused her in such a way that it caused a life-threatening eating disorder.
A day before the court ruling, Kesha posted an Instagram picture of tranquil scenery, which was captioned:
“I have nothing left to hide,” she wrote. “I did this because the truth was eating away my soul and killing me from the inside. this is not just for me. this is for every woman, every human who has ever been abused. sexually. emotionally. mentally.
“I had to tell the truth. so the outcome will be what it will be. there’s nothing left I can do. it’s just so scary to have zero control in your fate. but this is my path this life for whatever reason.”
When Kesha said she “physically cannot” continue to work with Dr. Luke and that she doesn’t “feel safe in any way,” the court ruled against her. She was called a liar by Dr. Luke and his lawyers.
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The court ruled that although Kesha does not have to have direct interaction with Dr. Luke, she will have to fulfill her contract with Sony Music.
Junior Eleanor Maloney said she thought the ruling was unfair.
“I’m not super surprised because this is the way a lot of people think, and that’s really messed up that anyone would ever try to make someone that went through something like that feel guilty or ashamed, as if they did something wrong,” Maloney said.
“I am horrified by the ruling, but not surprised,” sophomore Emily-Grace Arrivello, a member of College Undergrads Not Tolerating Sexism, said.
“I applaud Kesha for being able to bring this to court because for many victims of sexual assault this can be extremely traumatic,” she said.
Huffington Post’s Feb. 20 article “Confused Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault? Ask Kesha” explained that Kesha’s fame “[doesn’t] set her apart from other victims of sexual abuse who face a justice system that often doesn’t protect them. Her story sheds light on why rape remains one of the most grossly underreported crimes.”
According to RAINN, just 2 percent of rapists serve jail time.
“Unfortunately, the message here is that people will not believe you. I’ve seen people using Kesha’s ‘party-girl’ image as a way to discredit her claims of sexual assault,” Arrivello said.
“It just shows how deep rape culture and misogyny is ingrained in our consciousness,” she said.
Maloney worried that the court case ruling will prevent survivors on campus from sharing their stories, she said.
“I really hope it doesn’t keep women or anyone really from coming out about being victims of sexual assault,” she said.
“People shouldn’t have to feel scared about anyone else’s judgment after they’ve been through something like that,” Maloney said.
Kesha’s story is similar to many stories of sexual assault on college campuses.
The UVM’s Women’s Center center hosts “Dismantling Rape Culture Conference” which will looks at the intersectional ways in which rape culture exists and focuses on how we can come together to envision how we can change, shift, alter and heal from its insidious presence in our lives, according to the site.
“I think it all starts with education, especially around consent,” Arrivello said.
However, she believes “there could always be more done to prevent sexual assault.”
Arrivello also questioned whether the people who need to hear this message are the ones actually attending these events.