Why Demi Lovato's inspiring defense of Kesha matters for all survivors.
Demi Lovato's got your back, Kesha.
This past weekend, Demi Lovato had a lot to get off her chest when it comes to sexist double standards.
Few realities illustrate this double standard more than our tendency to doubt — and sometimes actually blame — sexual assault survivors when they come forward (because, you know, a woman's short skirt proves she was "asking for it," right?).
And Demi Lovato has had enough.
Lovato took to Twitter to speak out in defense of fellow singer Kesha, who's ensnared in some heartbreaking legal drama.
In 2014, Kesha filed a suit against Dr. Luke, who runs the record label she's signed with, Kemosabe Records. Kesha alleges that Dr. Luke drugged her, raped her, and emotionally abused her throughout their decade-long professional relationship. (Despicable stuff, to say the least.) The case is pending.
But on Friday, Kesha left a New York City courtroom in tears after a judge denied a request that would have allowed her to record songs and continue earning a living from her music outside of her contract until the case is finalized. To be clear, Kesha is still able to work with different producers on the label other than Dr. Luke, but she believes her music won't be promoted or prioritized by Sony (who owns Kemosabe Records) if she did so.
To say Kesha's between a rock and a hard place is quite the understatement: In order to keep her career intact, she's being forced to work on her alleged abuser's label, of which she's currently contractually attached to for another six albums.
This is what Lovato had to say about that:
Lovato touches on several great points in her tweets, especially when she mentions that survivors are "shot down" and "disrespected" far too often.
There's a societal knee-jerk reaction to question the honesty of a survivor when they come forward. This mistrust is "one of the biggest barriers sexual assault survivors face" when trying to seek justice, as activist vlogger Laci Green points out in one of her videos.
Take the reaction to the accusations against Bill Cosby: Even after 35 women say he sexually assaulted them, many fans (including a handful of sympathetic celebrities) have become hellbent on proving he's the victim or have downplayed the survivors' claims. We see survivors being "shot down" time and time again.
Add on that sexual assault survivors face stigma (which may make them hesitant to seek justice) and the restrictive nature of statute of limitation laws (which stop survivors from coming forward if too much time has passed), and it's no wonder only about 2% of rapists spend time behind bars, according to a study by RAINN.
Kesha's situation — which involves a man with a lot of money, power, and influence (as do many cases of rape and sexual assault) — complicates the singer's difficult battle even more so. And keep in mind, she's not even seeking justice for the alleged abuse — she simply doesn't want to work with him any longer.
It's great that Lovato is using her platform as a celebrity to speak out on a story and subject that needs more attention.
And the good news is we can all use our voices and (much smaller) platforms too.
After news spread that Kesha's latest request had been denied, the hashtag #FreeKesha stormed the Internet in support of the pop star. Many celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, and Lorde, expressed solidarity with the singer.
To join the cause, post or tweet using the #FreeKesha hashtag. After all, your words might be seen by someone out there (friend or stranger) who should know you care too.