Taylor Swift, who has been known in the music scene for writing songs about ex-boyfriends and those songs being catchy enough to have toddlers and adults singing along, recently won her lawsuit against a radio DJ, who allegedly groped her during a photo taken at a meet and greet at an event.
Swift didn’t need the money, but after she was sued by the DJ for allegedly causing him to be fired from his job at the radio station due to this incident, she countersued bringing claims of assault and battery.
So what did Swift, who has enough money to cover football fields, ask for from the jury to compensate her? One Dollar. You may think to yourself, if you’re asking for $1, why even go through the hassle and emotional toll of bringing a lawsuit if you’re not going to get anything out of it?
For Swift, it wasn’t about the money, but instead, about taking a stand for other survivors of assault and giving them the courage to speak out after they’ve been victimized.
Although the DJ will only have to pay Swift $1, the action is symbolic. The $1 award represents that the jury understood and believed Swift’s account, but the symbolism goes a step further. Ordering the DJ to pay Swift, even just a dollar, allows Swift to be the one in control, which is the complete opposite of how victims of sexual assault often feel. Lawsuits can have this effect for survivors.
We live in a society where victims of sexual assault are not believed, challenged, questioned and chastised. So much so, that it can have a silencing effect on people who, although they’ve been hurt, are afraid to come forward.
The more people who come forward and show other survivors that they are not alone, the more survivors can put an end to the negative stigma that sometimes comes along with sexual assault. Swift’s statement after the jury verdict sums it up pretty well:
“I want to thank Judge William J. Martinez and the jury for their careful consideration, my attorneys Doug Baldridge, Danielle Foley, Jay Schaudies and Katie Wright for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault, and especially anyone who offered their support throughout this four-year ordeal and two-year long trial process,” Swift said in a statement.
“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”
I’m a strong believer that there’s strength in numbers. There’s courage that comes with knowing you’re not alone and that it’s ok to talk about it.
The more people who speak out and speak up, the more the survivors can take the reins and take back control from the abuser.