[TRIGGER WARNING: This post talks about violence against womyn. Exercise self-care, folks.]
We've known this for generations but 2K16 seems determined to drive it home.
Bill Cosby is suing. The Jian Ghomeshi trial is a fucking mess. And now, we're trying to set Kesha free.
We need to #FreeKesha. We need to free all the Keshas, because girl is not alone.
But if enduring countless media interviews this year has taught me anything, it's that the average person does not understand abuser dynamics.
When my abuser died, I did a detailed interview for print where I was asked "After 10 years, you must have realized that he wasn't actually going to kill you?"
And it's true.
After a solid 6-7 years, I realized that unless I went public and outed him, he'd probably never kill me. (Probably is still a shitty thing to hang your hat on, but it's something.) I realized that torturing me brought him more joy than the thought of my death. Like a cat that would rather torture a dying mouse than kill it, many abusers prefer the slow burn of torture.
Besides the obvious fear of getting arrested, losing ones freedom and being publicly painted as the monster he clearly was, I believe my abuser chose to never follow through on any of his early threats because he knew that his stalking, harassment and generally creepy behaviour guaranteed him rent-free room in my head. Constantly looking over my shoulder; living off the grid; chronic paranoia; distrust; flashes of panic if I saw someone who looked like him; these things drove home that I made a terrible, terrible mistake by leaving him. I said no and walked away and he wanted to ensure that every day of my life, from that moment forward, was a reminder that I made a horrible mistake.
I was going to pay and pay and pay and keep paying for the rest of my life.
We know that domestic violence and sexual violence are about power and control; not sexual desire, rage or "snapping".
So, yeah. It makes perfect sense that someone like Dr. Luke would like to keep Kesha locked in a contract with him. Buddy isn't even making serious money from her right now and is clearly not in the studio making music with her. But he can slowly kill her career by making her unable to work with anyone else but him.
He wants Kesha to pay and pay and pay.
"If I can't have you, nobody else can."
I've heard it. It's been said to countless womyn I know by violent, manipulative men.
Kesha is being punished for wanting to "break up" with her abuser and for naming her experience of violence. And I truly believe that were it not for social media, we would never have heard about any of it. Kesha (or rather glitter covered Ke$ha) would have slowly disappeared from pop culture and remembered as the hot mess with the catchy pop songs.
I'm grateful for #FreeKesha but I know that unless we keep making noise about rape culture, Kesha won't be free and neither will the rest of us.