“It takes a village.” Why we are all collectively responsible for stopping abuse.
“Surviving R.Kelly” is currently the trending topic across America, from social media to the neighborhood barbershop, people have gathered together to discuss their outrage. The docu-series premiered on Lifetime January 3rd with 1.9 Million viewers tuned in. The series chronicled years of the famous singers alleged pedophilia, sexual, and physical abuse through accounts of his former victims, including his ex-wife- Drea Kelly. Viewers including myself, watched in shock and disgust as each woman, former employee, and even family regurgitated the acts they witnessed R.Kelly performing while he wasn’t on stage.
As the series continued past the infamous “pee-tape” it divulges deeper into the sex cult of women held against their will and trapped in the control of R.Kelly in his home(s), isolated from their friends and family. Admittedly, my first question was how could this actually be going on and there hasn’t been a huge, FBI S.W.A.T team-like raid into every property R.Kelly owns? Then a heavier question weighed on my conscious how did he get these teenage girls there in the first place? Understand, I am no R.Kelly sympathizer and I do not blame the victims for any abuse they have suffered. I do, however, place considerable thought into the role their parents have played into these horrifying situations.
According to childhelp.com :
“Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse. “
This definition leads to me to believe, that these -now women overcame not only R.Kelly’s abuse and neglect, but that of their parents as well. Accounts suggest that girls as young as 14 were left in the care of a man double their age as their parents, for a period of time, stood idly by. That is neglect. The psyche of a 14 year old is not fully equipped to properly digest the sudden absenteeism of a parent as they are left in the care of a stranger- a predator. Left under the premise of possible stardom alone is exploitation. The list goes on.
The sad fact is: they were children, who had parents, who left them. Although they have aged into adulthood when they are reunited with their parents and family, the question stands are they leaving one abuser to be reconnected to their other abusers?
Studies show that former abuse victims, primarily males, have a higher chance of becoming abusers, especially if left untreated from the trauma.
R.Kelly and his brothers admit to being sexually abused as children by a close family member for years. The cycle of abuse suggests that the children birthed from abusers have a high chance of being abused. This is why I suggest we cannot only hold R.Kelly accountable, we must hold the parents, the silent enforcers, and the accomplices accountable as well and seek help for the abused.
Sharing their story and sitting in outrage is not enough. We can offer our comfort and we need to offer solutions. Most of the victims have endured sexual, physical, mental, and child abuse. Some reunited with their families hopeful in expectation of protection from the very people who left them hopeless. Certainly they cannot be the ones charged with their care and recovery? But the hope remains because of the very idea verbally and through action enforced by their abusers “There is no one else.”. We as a nation need to stand together and focus on stopping the cycle of abuse. When fandom and family fail, humanity is left to show support, that there are safe spaces. I encourage you, if you know an abuse victim, help them stop the cycle of abuse by not only supporting them, but find resources to guide them through recovery. If you are an abuse victim, you are not alone and the cycle can end with you.
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