I’m Not Angry About The Kesha Ruling

I should be angry about Kesha’s loss in court.

I should be enraged at the judge who ruled Kesha must continue making music for the record label that still employs the producer who sexually assaulted her. Sony would suffer irreparable harm by releasing her from her contract, or at least that’s what the judge said as Kesha sobbed in the courtroom.

I guess it didn’t occur to anyone at Sony or the judge to suggest firing a rapist instead of compelling Kesha to work with him.

I should be angry when my friends ask me whether Kesha reported her rape. They say it like it matters whether she went to the authorities; like rapes are prosecuted fairly and frequently. As if she had a chance at winning that case when the law says her employer would suffer more harm by losing her record sales than she will by being forced to work alongside her rapist.

As if she had a chance at winning that case when the law says her employer would suffer more harm by losing her record sales than she will by being forced to work alongside her rapist.

I should be angry but I can’t be angry about Kesha’s case because I’m too broken. The system has failed me, it has failed my daughters, and now I know that even if I were rich and famous, it would still fail me. There’s no way to win when the game’s always been rigged.

I’m tired of fighting against a broken system. I’m tired of pretending that my words and fight will change a goddamn thing. I’m tired of living in a world where women’s lives matter less than record sales, embryos, and almost everything in between.

I’ve reported sexual assaults more than once. I’ve sat in a prosecutor’s cheap sterile office listening as she told me she wouldn’t press charges based on nothing but the victim’s statement. That’s just how the law goes, she said. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

False rape claims are vanishingly rare. I know that, you know that, everyone knows that. Facts don’t matter because our entire system is weighted in favor of avoiding a minuscule risk of false accusations. The system makes it clear whose lives and bodies have meaning when it’s framed around minimizing risk to men while throwing women to the wolves. God forbid a few innocent men be falsely charged with rape; the system reminds us it’s far better that almost no rapists be charged at all.

Kesha wasn’t innocent until proven guilty. She was assumed to be a liar the second she accused Dr. Luke of raping her. Innocent until proven guilty is a gift only granted to rapists, not their victims.

People tell me Kesha just wanted to get out of her contract. People tell me a lot of things, and I should be angry at their internalized misogyny and subconscious acceptance of rape culture but I can’t be angry anymore because it’s everywhere. It’s in my friends, it’s in my teenage sons, and it’s in the headlines I read day in and day out.

Someday maybe I will believe in fairy tales where women are equal and valued but not today. I’m not going to yell and scream about the unbearable legal victimization of Kesha today because I know it’s endemic and systemic and not a goddamn thing is going to change. The system doesn’t discard women because it is ignorant; the system discards women because it doesn’t give a shit. Our lives, our experiences, and our trauma are meaningless. We are meaningless.

The system doesn’t discard women because it is ignorant; the system discards women because it doesn’t give a shit.

So maybe I am angry after all. Maybe I can’t stomach another woman being treated this way. Maybe I want to tear down the entire system and light it on fire and watch it burn. Maybe I want to play a fucking fiddle and dance as it burns just for good measure. Maybe, after 37 fucking years, I finally understand why people revolt instead of waiting patiently for their oppressors to deign to recognize their humanity.

That’s the problem with anger. Anger without action is impotent and bitter; it festers and sours. It feeds my helplessness and makes me feel even more powerless than I already feel. And what’s the alternative? Protests that capture attention for an hour in a 24-hour news cycle? Legislation that withers and rots in committees? Where does the anger go when there’s no path to change?

I have no fucking idea what to do with this anger, and I’m tired of being angry. I’m weary of watching the system chew up and spit out yet another woman. I’ve exceeded my ability to hope for meaningful change because there’s no change to be found, just more women being destroyed by the system no one cares enough to change.

#FreeKesha, and free all of us.