Kesha, FWIW, you’re not alone.
Six hours ago, the story broke that Kesha would not be allowed out of her contract with Dr. Luke.
I’ll admit that what makes me interested in Kesha is not necessarily her music, although “Cannibal” is the anthem that I play when I need to vent some serious anger. Her situation, while publicised, is just too familiar a story, too common, and, especially given the court’s ruling, just as bit as messed up as the reality for all of us.
Coming to terms with sexual assault is hard. Kesha and I have different experiences of sexual assault. But one thing I’ve found in common with sexual assault survivors is that facing the reality of what’s happened to you and coming to terms with it yourself is hollowing and raw.
When I was younger and going through this, what made it twice as hard for me was the silence. It’s a silence that this culture encourages and endorses. Silence is ensured by blaming women, men and non-binary folk alike for their assaults, claiming there must’ve been something we could have done to stop it — or that because we are strong, disabled, unattractive, what have you, it never could have happened.
It’s coincidence that today I managed to read The Missing Stair. Because this court just took one gigantic leap over a gargantuan canyon.
The silence encourages your silence. And breaking it is hard. But, as one of my favourite people out there, Daniel Radcliffe, says, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” And I really do believe that.
I kept my sexual assaults a secret for so long, especially because it took me years to finally understand what happened to me. It took bodily exploration, the discovery of a specific type of pain that made me realise that a bad memory was much, much worse than I thought. I brushed it off. Shrugged. Tried to act like it was no big deal. Until I finally accepted it. And then it took even longer to share it with the world.
And when I see other people who have survived, I am less alone. I feel less like I’m coping with this on my own. In the past, I’ve compared being sexually assaulted to some of the nerdiest things ever, like Harry Potter’s scar or Frodo’s injury from Weathertop. And that’s because, even as these things don’t define your entire being, they can and do stick with you.
Right now, I don’t know how Kesha is feeling. I don’t personally know her. But I feel a kinship in her struggle. Because I lived every day of my childhood with two of the people who assaulted me. And I saw the other one frequently until he finally moved away.
For what it’s worth, Kesha, you are not alone. And although there is absolutely nothing I can do to fix the situation that you are in, I hope that by me and others who have been through sexual assault saying we’ve gone through the same thing, you may feel some comfort.