Linda Perry on the Dr. Luke-Kesha Kerfuffle: The Ant and the Elephant (Guest Column)

The hit songwriter and producer weighs in on disturbing allegations of abuse, both physical and mental: "This shit really does happen"
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Dr. Luke, Kesha

The shots Dr. Luke and Kesha are taking at each other come as no surprise. Whether the statements in her lawsuit are true or false doesn't even matter, because the truth is, this shit really does happen.

We've been playing He Said, She Said since the beginning of time. The serpent tricks Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree, Adam blames Eve, and then God punishes everyone. There you have it — it was all Eve's fault.

But was it? We heard Adam's side, we definitely got God's side, but what about Eve's side of the story? Maybe the real lawsuit here should have been Eve vs. God. He created Eve, which means he opened the door to her curiosity and then entrapped her with temptation. Isn't that the textbook definition of gross negligence? Of course, Eve would have lost, because, you know, God has friends in high places, but it would have set the dynamic straight. Her declaration: "Just because you're God doesn't mean you can mess with me." Message received, loud and clear. But who would sue God?

In all likelihood, you are friends with, brother or sister to, or a coworker of someone who has experienced sexual, mental or emotional harassment. There's a reason people don't come out with the truth right away; it's called fear and survival. We're scared that everything we have been working toward will be taken away and ruin the opportunity to pocket that oh-so-coveted brass ring.

So we convince ourselves that questionable behavior is normal; it's all part of the game. You know the age-old story of the Hollywood casting couch — fresh young faces wanting to make it onto the big screen being told, "If you want this part, sweetheart, this is what you’re going to have to do. How bad do you want it?"

We have all suffered through a situation where our morals were being tested. Whether it’s acting, a position at a firm or a record deal, what would you do? In the music business, we are all trying to reach the glitter and gold of stardom; some of us risk everything for it. Some see the vision: the stage, the crowd, the mansions, that moment when they say "and the Grammy goes to…"

It reminds us of Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He kept seeing visions of this mountain. He was compelled. He lost his family, his job and even risked his life for it. No matter what, he was going to reach Devils Tower. We all watched through tears as he climbed aboard the spaceship, but did he think this out clearly? I mean, we all know what happens — he gets probed in the ass for the next 10 years.

So you see, we fall victim to our own dreams. Fame is promised, and sex is the price. I have worked with many female artists who have complained about the ego and sexual conduct of their male producers and how great it was to work with women.

Many times I've heard people blame the victim. "They instigated this. You wanted it, you got it." Is this butch vs. femme, where wearing the short skirt and showing cleavage makes a woman more prone to being violated? And the jeans and T-shirt are branded off-limits? But wait a minute, Tina Turner is a strong woman, and that shit happened to her.

Woman vs. man? Nope, this isn't a chick thing; dudes experience the same harassment. Then what is it? Simple. It's called an imbalance of power, a form of aggression in which one person lords over another — instigator and victim. When have we ever heard of the ant abusing the elephant?

"Now, you listen to me. I made you. You were nothing before you met me, and you ain't gonna be nothing without me."
— Ike Turner

Songwriter and producer Linda Perry has worked on hit singles with Christina Aguilera, Pink and Gwen Stefani, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @RealLindaPerry

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