NCADV Statement on "Surviving R. Kelly"

Let’s End It...

Lifetime network’s six-part docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” was a loud call to action to end social tolerance for a culture where violence against women is normalized and excused. As a society we must raise the bar, holding all perpetrators accountable no matter what industry or institution – sports, entertainment, journalism, corporate America, government, and beyond. We can no longer participate in societal denial.

The heartbreaking accounts shared by his victims are familiar to those of us who assist survivors of violence and human trafficking. Most were very young girls, many of whom were underage when they first met him. Most were approached at a high school or shopping mall. He stalked and chose his victims and his staff set up meetings during which he used his fame, power and control to sexually, emotionally and physically abuse them. Most remarkably, his targets were young black girls and women, a group especially marginalized and hidden -- over 90% of women and girls of color have been hurt by those who claim to love and care for them. The societal oversexuaaltion and oppression of black women make young black women even more vulnerable to predators like him. The pain and suffering he has perpetrated against these girls and their families for over two decades is immeasurable.

Through it all, his  crimes were suspected or well known by record industry insiders, his staff, even his own family and even some victims family members -- yet no one came forward. No one intervened. No one seemed to care.

Whether you watch(ed) all six episodes or just one, you will ask yourself – how can this happen in today’s society? The answer is simple: because we allow it. Initiatives like the #metoo movement are making headway in ending violence against women by empowering survivors to speak out and hold perpetrators accountable. Domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking are not “just women’s issues.” Social change will only be possible when men are willing to stand as equal partners with women to end tolerance for actions that support and perpetuate a climate that allows for violence against women.

We call on all men and women to speak up and speak out if they suspect abuse no matter the perpetrator, no matter the victim. We can no longer allow any survivor to endure it alone.  Let’s end it...

Posted by Lynn Brewer-Muse at 1:26 PM
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