Target: Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Goal: Allow victims of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse legal exit from their business contracts.
Pop star Kesha is being forced to work with her alleged abuser, Dr. Luke, due to a recording contract she signed with him years ago. In short, Kesha signed a contract with Dr. Luke and his label under Sony that requires her to produce at least six more albums before she can be released from her contract. However, Kesha has allegedly been the victim of emotional and sexual abuse by Dr. Luke. Last week, the court ruled in favor of the contract, denying the requested injunction that would have allowed her to record music outside of Dr. Luke’s label until the court case is settled.
Often, the parties agreeing to a legally binding contract are unequal in power, hierarchy of the obligations of the contract, or even in their social structure. If one of the parties breaks the contract, legal repercussions may follow due to the terms and conditions, which are usually designed to protect all parties involved. However, if the contract itself was designed or executed unethically, it can be disputed in civil court and often overturned.
According to clinical psychologist Nicholas Roth, sexual assault and other forms of abuse are not attributed as much to a person’s sexual desire, but instead to a psychological need to control. In a contract between two or more individuals where one party has a significantly greater quantity of power, and the more powerful party exercises further control over the other with abuse of a sexual, physical, emotional or verbal nature, said abuse should render that contract null and void.
Sign the petition below to demand that the United States Congress relieve abuse victims of their contractual obligations. Victims of sexual, physical, emotional, or verbal abuse should not be required to face their abusers on a regular basis.
Dear Speaker Ryan,
A legally binding contract obliges signing parties to a specific set of agreed upon tasks. Though the terms and conditions of contracts are typically designed to be ethical protection of all signing parties, often there is a hierarchal or power inequality between individuals involved in the contract. Often, one or more of the signing parties is taken advantage of throughout the implementation of the contract, and the civil court will grant the right to break the contract without consequence.
An extreme example of an unjust contract is a situation in which one or more of the parties is being abused sexually, physically, emotionally, or verbally. Due to an unequal power dynamic, this abuse is especially unjust and puts the victim in an even weaker and more vulnerable situation. Regardless of the terms and conditions of the contract, if one party is exercising abuse over the other, the civil court should automatically grant the victim the chance to be released from all contractual obligations in order to protect this party from their abuser.
I am urging you to further evaluate the ethical requirements of fulfilling a contract. Please take actions to enforce policies that protect victims from their abusers instead of obliging them to continue working and interacting with them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Succo