The most refreshing part about courses like ours is the amount freedom our discussion have. It never feels like anything is off topic. I believed that my legal class was going to be similar. We have been tackling very serious legal problems that we face today including sexual assault. It was an especially difficult course to sit through because I felt very alone in my views and beliefs, and instead of fostering an open forum for discussion that class shut down when discussing this topic. Days later we discussed the legalization of marijuana and not one person did not chime in, and yet when we had a discussion about sexual assault very few people spoke. The conversation also tended to lean toward the idea that the laws lead to a lot of innocent men having their lives destroyed rather than the thousands upon thousands of women who are victimized daily and who despite these rules never come forward. It sad that even in a classroom environment the topic of sexual assault is taboo, and on top of that the common theme seemed to be victim shaming or focusing on the men rather than the women.
It would be difficult for you not to have crossed paths by now with the Kesha case if you are into music or law. It’s dominate a lot of discussion and the devastating decision is stirring a lot of controversy. However, I decided to take a step back and see if my mostly white male class would bother to bring up a sexual assault related case. Surprise! Surprise! No one did. However, after having read news articles about the Kesha case, I’m not surprised considering the most important parts of the case seem to be who is publicly supporting her and if Demi Lovato was actually throwing shade at Taylor Swift for not tweeting about the incident. It’s interesting the news outlets were not even discussing the societal implications of the case or the injustice that another woman was silenced by our justice system. This case shows a gaping wound in our societal view of sexual assault. We would rather let a potential sexual assailant continue abusing a woman than let her out of a music contract. Money won over a woman’s safety, but no one is talking about this. Instead people are trashing Taylor Swift for not sending a tweet. How many women will not come forward because of this case? How many women will continue to suffer in silence because we cannot have the true and hard discussions about sexual assault. Maybe my professor is right. Our sexual assault laws are flawed innocent men are hurts, but why do their lives matter so much more than the women who are being harassed. This is not a female issue it’s a societal one because we feel that money means more than a person’s safety and peace of mind. Maybe if we weren’t so afraid to have these discussions Kesha wouldn’t be forced to give up her body for her music and Taylor wouldn’t be attacked for some conceived sense of injustice. Instead the real evil and the real assailants will be the focus and receive the blame. If only we could have the conversations and weren’t so afraid.