R. Kelly is a talented musical artist and has produced some pretty incredible songs over the past twenty plus years. No one disputes his talent. R. Kelly(Robert) is also pedophile and a sick man who preys on young girls, broken women and the most vulnerable. He is not only the king of R & B, but the king of disrespecting, abusing and violating black girls and women. He’s been bumping and grinding and putting his key in the ignitions of the female masses for a long time. His proclivity to young women, coupled with his need to control, objectify, and sexualize women and girls, is self-evident. His lyrics told us his thoughts; but we were too busy dancing and singing along to listen. His actions showed us who he was. None of this is debatable. The late great Dr. Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they are, believe them“; too many didn’t believe, even after he showed us who he was, we didn’t want to believe.
Fast forward to today, his subsequent arrest(again) has made headlines. Someone turned in yet another damning video. But it was the docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly“, that had everyone listening and talking. Not only did Robert’s victims come out and tell their stories, but people all over this country started coming from behind their walls of secrecy to tell their own stories on social media and out loud, as victims of incest, molestation and abuse by people closest to them; people they trusted, people who were supposed to protect them. All perpetrators of a different name. It struck a nerve with me. I was all too familiar with the experience, the shame and the pain.
Aliyah was 14 when Robert took her in under his black cape and made her believe that “age ain’t nothing but a number”. He sexed her up, messed up her mind, and married her (albeit temporarily) on a whim. She was fifteen and he was twenty-seven. She wanted to be a singer and the story says that she and her family sought him for guidance in the music business. Instead, he gave her the business. He stole her innocence and the rosiness from her young cheeks. He was the adult in the room. He had the duty to guide and protect her to help her become greater. He took advantage of her instead.
How did we let this happen? How did all those grown people around him in his circle let it happen? More aptly, how did we let it continue? Are we that blind or just too numb to care? Are we so in love with his music, that we’ve decided the value of young girls and the cries of women don’t matter? If so, we are no different from Trump supporters who ignore facts, truth, his ignorance and evil deeds, and opt to blindly follow the man, no matter what.
But this isn’t just about R. Kelly. Pedophiles come in all races, sizes, socioeconomic backgrounds and names. They are in professions on every level. He lives in homes across America. He may go by the name of Walter (the friend of the family), uncle James, grandpa Joe, daddy Walters, Catholic Priest (pick a name), Pastor Long, cousin Rodney, step-brother Kevin and Elvis. He is in colleges, corporate America, sports, entertainment and churches(to name only a few). Yes, sadly, this happens to boys too, and it is equally horrific and damaging to any victim. This is about men and their need for power, control and sex. It is also about pedophilia. And it is about a lack of respect for girls and women, namely the vulnerable, poor and broken.
No, this isn’t just about R. Kelly. It is about men who are willing to break open a child’s body and mind prematurely; forever altering their physical wellbeing, their trust and sexual boundaries. It is about men who violate and kill the spirit of a woman or child to get a nut.
Every person reading this blog piece knows someone who has been molested or knows a molester in their family or someone else’s. What does that say about the problem? The questions are: How are we addressing it? Are we telling our girls that it didn’t happen? Are we shaming them and calling them “fast”? Are we telling them to keep it secret? Are we ignoring it like society did with R. Kelly (and other known sexual deviants out there)? And when we find out, how are we helping our kids or victimized women cope? Are we creating an environment to openly talk about it? Are we encouraging them to seek therapy? Are we kicking out the perpetrator and filing charges? Or are we doing like the Catholic church, and just shuffling him around so he can go to the next house and destroy more innocent bodies and minds?
Our ignoring abuse is part of the problem. Our enabling, by defending him is part of the problem. Our not listening and not protecting girls and women is part of the problem.
I speak on what I know. I was 7 years old when the “married family friend” who lived in our home, exposed me to his penis and masturbation. I was 7! That continued until he and his wife Mary, and their kids moved out( a couple years) later. I didn’t tell my mother until I saw Oprah discuss the matter one day on television with her audience. I was 21 or 22 when I came forward and told my secrets. There were other men and other violations, but I don’t need to list them here. Suffice to say, I’ve had my life interrupted by my own R. Kelly’s. Like so many victims of molest, incest and sexual violations, my body never belonged to me. It was always sexualized. My breasts, which were too large for my body as a teen, caused men to look at me differently. And the way my body formed, apparently told men, I looked like I was ready. I was not. Not mentally or physically. The years from ages 7 to 14, were the set up of what was yet to come. I became a teen parent at 15. I carried into that experience all that I had been exposed to, broken trust, damaged self-esteem, confusion about sex, confusion about my body and healthy love, etc. etc. I had no idea what was “normal”. No kid who is abused does.
Black girl bodies have been sexualized and fondled by unauthorized men, at inappropriate times, since the beginning of our existence. Black women have been objectified and given measured value or worthiness, based on butt size, breast configuration, body type since or before Sara Baartman. Our culture lends to its acceptance.
A couple of fact checks: 1) Girls don’t come into the world “fast”, asking for sex, or desiring grown men. They either see “fast” behavior in their homes or environments, or someone exposes them to things they should not know or see before the body and mind are mature enough to process it. 2) Children under 18 cannot give consent to a grown man. And to be clear, even some 18 and 19-year old’s aren’t mentally prepared to participate in adult sexual activity.
It’s no wonder so many grown women and men are walking around conflicted and emotionally broken when it comes to love, sex and relationships. You have to know natural, healthy love and sex to participate in it. Children who are sexually violated, never get that opportunity-they start life fucked up because some grown-up put their own needs before the child’s .
Yes, R Kelly has been arrested. We can celebrate that justice might finally be served for him. R. Kelly is but one predator in a world of tens of thousands, if not millions. What about the predators in your home? What about the Catholic priests all over the world? What shall we do about the other violators and sexual perverts, like the 50 something year old Fort Valley State University campus lieutenant who preys on incoming girls, or the doctors, pastors, gymnastics coaches, uncles, dads, cousins and the rest of them? When will all of the victims of these obscure predators get their justice? When will their violators be held accountable? And in the meantime, who will care for the little girls in grown women’s bodies and the elementary, middle and high school girls who had their souls damaged and their innocence ripped from them because some man couldn’t get past his penis? What will we do about them? How will we help them heal?
This is bigger than R. Kelly. He need not be the whipping boy for all of the sexual predators in this country and abroad. Without a shadow of a doubt, he needs to be held accountable for his part in this never ending atrocity of child molest and his role in victimizing numerous girls and women. But so do the rest of the adults who do the same. #metoo #itstoomuch #muteRKellyandallsexualpredators #itstimetoprotectwomenandgirls #itstimetoprotectboystoo #itstimeforchange
By Rhonda E. Frost