This past week has been a major victory for sexual assault survivors with regards to the Taylor Swift court case. Here is a breakdown on what you need to know, and why this case is important:
In 2013, Taylor Swift was groped during a photo-op with DJ David Muller
Swift was groped during a photo-op with then Colorado DJ David Muller and his girlfriend. Muller pulled up Swift’s skirt and grabbed her backside during the photo. Swift’s mother was outspoken about the incident, and reportedly asked Muller to be fired. Swift’s then bodyguard also testified that he had witnessed the assault. Swift, however, wanted to keep the incident private as many survivors do. Until the lawsuit, she had chosen not to take any legal action.
The DJ filed a “defamation of character” lawsuit against Swift, which was quickly thrown out by the judge
According to reports filed in 2015, Muller is suing Swift, her mother, and the radio station liaison Frank Bell for his being wrongly fired and for defamation of character and “false accusations” of sexual assault. Swift then counter-sued for $1, saying that her lawsuit “will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.” On August 11, US District Court Judge William Martinez dropped Swift from Muller’s lawsuit, citing insufficient evidence to continue. However, the suit against Swift’s mother and Frank Bell is continuing.
On August 14, a jury ruled in favor of Swift in her countersuit. The former DJ will be required to pay $1 in damages to Swift. The jury also found the singer's mother, Andrea Swift, not liable for tortious interference.
Swift is taking a symbolic stand for sexual assault survivors everywhere
According to ABC News, a 2014 survey showed that over 1 in 4 women in the US alone have been groped or “brushed up against” in a public place without their consent. Those are incredibly alarming statistics, especially because most women will never even report groping as sexual assault. Taylor Swift has taken an incredibly brave and strong stance for survivors of sexual assault. By suing for merely $1, she is symbolically telling the world that this is a problem that is not adequately addressed. According to Swift, she told the judge and jury that she refuses to let Muller make this her fault.
As a woman, I commend Taylor and applaud her for her dedication in standing up for women. Many times, you forget how to respond when it comes to being catcalled on the street or being touched without your consent. By fighting back, Taylor is showing the world that sexual assault is a real problem to be addressed, and that we won’t put up with this nonsense. Taylor Swift, who has a large presence on both social media and in the music industry, is able to use her platform to bring awareness to incidents that not many people think about.
And, by standing strong during this time, she is garnering support from other celebrities, such as Kesha, who was physically and mentally abused by her former producer, and lost her own sexual assault case, and Lady Gaga, whose song “Till it Happens to You” has reached and given confidence to millions.
We hope that this case continues the movement to bring awareness to sexual assault, and justice to those who need it most.