Okay, this isn’t really thoughts on Kesha. But it is thoughts brought on by the current Kesha situation. More specifically, a comment that I saw a friend of a friend post on Facebook about it. I don’t actually know anything about the situation aside from what I’ve seen on my very feminist-biased social media feeds but, I digress.

The comment that I saw was extensive but began thusly: “Sexual assault and rape are VERY different.” I’m not going to lie, I almost puked when I read it because it was said in defence of the alleged attacker. The poster went on to accuse Kesha of making up a story to get out of her contract and attempting to ruin the producer’s life with a rape charge. Wait, hold on a second. Ruin the producer’s life??? Yeah. That’s the kind of society we live in that we’re more concerned about an attacker’s tarnished reputation (notice I say tarnished and not destroyed because we’re pretty forgiving when it comes to men doing shitty things) than we are about a victim’s well-being and safety. For the record, it’s called rape culture and it’s out of control. There were a lot of sickening things about this post that I could delve into but I don’t want to get into my thoughts about the specific case because, like I said, I really don’t know anything about it.

What really got me was that first sentence. Sexual assault and rape are VERY different. Legally they might be but to the victim of sexual assault? Believe me, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter what the violation was, it’s traumatic and it can affect the rest of their lives. The memory of that violation never goes away. The fear of it happening again, or even of something worse happening never goes away. But for some reason the objective degree of severity was still a way for this person to defend a sexual predator. I could be totally off the mark but I’m willing to bet the person who originally wrote that (male) has never been sexually harassed or assaulted. And I’m even more willing to bet that even if they have they’ve never been forced to work in close quarters with that person again.

When it comes to feeling unsafe there is no difference between sexual assault and rape. And no one should EVER be forced into a situation where they feel unsafe regardless of the reason. No one should be expected to be able to work in that kind of situation much less create. Those feelings of being constantly tense and ready to fight back, of always trying to make sure there are at least two of your people in the room, of trying to stand up for yourself but being silenced are torture. Pure and simple. It leaves victims terrified, exhausted and completely emotionally wrecked. When it comes down to that? You can take your legal semantics and stick them where the sun don’t shine. The law is one thing but how on earth could you be a living, breathing, feeling human being and not understand this most basic need to feel safe? How on earth could you defend someone who prevents others from fulfilling this need?

If celebrities can’t even win a fight for their safety, what hope do the rest of us have? And furthermore, the fact that anyone has to fight for something like this is disgusting. I can only hope that someday empathy and human decency win out over this horrible victim-blaming and shaming thing we’ve got going on right now.

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