#FreeKesha: How Rape Culture Affects the Justice System

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“The purpose of a criminal justice system is to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing the guilty and helping them to stop offending, while protecting the innocent.” While America is undeniably one of the freer, safer nations, our justice system still seems to repeatedly miss the mark when it comes social responsibility and sexual violence. Sexual assault victims are subjected to crippling silence by the repudiation of their experiences from large institutions.

What bolder attack is there on a person’s freedom than telling them that they are not entitled to economic independence unless they continue to work under their alleged sexually, physically, and verbally abusive boss?

This is what New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich effectively told Kesha last Friday- that her personal, traumatizing, experience of a decade of abuse wasn’t enough to “prove” her allegations. That surely, her tipsy, party girl judgment could never be as sound as that of her employer, Sony. That everyone else but her can decide what is best for her economic, social and emotional prosperity. That her body isn’t her own.

I think the court decision hit home for a lot of people who, like Kesha, have been told by institutions that their allegations and emotions are not valid until someone else says so. Nobody should have to prove their rape. Through this ruling, the justice system is indirectly spreading a message to women that their word is meaningless without a man or a corporation to back it up. So in response to this message, women have decided to speak up through social media platforms, taking to the hashtag #FreeKesha to stand in solidarity with her.

I think that the #FreeKesha movement is a great way of showing empathy for her, but I also think it is heartbreaking in the sense that even powerful women in the music industry such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Lorde, are unable to make a significant difference – all they can do is tweet to show their support. Naturally, this is the extent of their agent in a world that fails to see women as equal, whole beings whose words have enough merit to be trusted and taken seriously.

This unjust ruling topped off a month in which a Personhood Bill was introduced in Mississippi. This bill gives a fertilized egg more precedent than an adult woman’s health. Another bill was introduced in Oklahoma, which proposed teaching public school students about “the humanity of an unborn child”, further proving my point that we seem to value almost everything except a woman’s right to her body.

A woman is not fully empowered or free unless she is legally entitled to make her own decisions about her livelihood, especially in regards to her basic physical and mental health.

– Neha Dronamraju – Staff Writer –

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Neha Dronamraju

Neha likes green tea ice cream and San Francisco. Neha also recently passed her drivers ed test with an 82%.

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