The new documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, placed the brightest of spotlights on on of the biggest stars in R&B. Kelly’s exploits are infamous by now, and almost comical not too long ago (see The Chappelle Show “Piss On You” skit). However, as we laughed at comedians poking fun of Kelly through skits and the stage, we overlooking the fact that this man did some very shady shit when it comes to our black women and girls.
It makes me think about times I regurgitated the Chappelle skit to friends because, the fact that it was so riduculous in itself, I totally disregarded that the skit emulated urinating on a minor. We have ignored the root of the problem for the better part of a decade. Our black queens, our women and girls, are devalued in our society. That is a hard pill to swallow and one that we are reluctant to admit. However, R. Kelly is the one of the more acute examples of how many men consider women and children as objects that exist solely for their gratification and servitude. Kelly is akin to the radical, extremist terrorist when it comes to degrading our women, but there are many among us who are not innocent. Sadly, we all have encountered abusers. Maybe it’s a neighbor who you know is hurting his wife, but you don’t want to get in “anyone’s business”. Or possibly the rumors you hear about the pastor and members of the youth choir. “Why get involved? They’re just rumors and it’s not MY kid.” The lack of involvement makes us just as complicit. Much like those in Kelly’s camp who turned their heads to his crimes.
It’s only a matter of listening to the music that every “Lil” somebody puts out that becomes a hit with lyrics that contain mysogynism in its fullest by “f***ing everyone else’s b**ch” and other things that men do to women that alledgedly glorifies our “manhood”. There is no need to look exclusively at rap music. The #MeToo movement was founded out of the misbehavior of powerful men towards women. R. Kelly is getting his shine at the moment, but what about the Cosbys, the Weinsteins, the Spaceys, and the Freemans? Our young men are tragically taught at an early age that women and girls exist for them to be exploited.
These are the ones we hear about. Here are some statistics of the ones who typically remain in the shadows:
- One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.
- 30% of women were between the ages of 11 and 17 at the time of their first completed rape.
- 12.3% of women were age 10 or younger at the time of their first completed rape victimization.
- More than one third of women who report being raped before age 18 also experience rape as an adult.
- 96% of people who sexually abuse children are male, and 76.8% of people who sexually abuse children are adults.
- 34% of people who sexually abuse a child are family members of the child.
- It is estimated that 325,000 children per year are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial child sexual exploitation.
- The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14 years old, and the average age at which boys first become victims of prostitution is 11-13 years old.
- Only 12% of child sexual abuse is ever reported to the authorities.
If you know someone who is an abuser, report your suspicions. If it is someone close to you, confront them and get them the support they need.
We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to this any longer. As men, we must protect those who are weaker than us. If you are a victim, do whatever you have to to get out of the situation. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at
1-800-656-4673 and visit RAINN for more information.
If you want yo do something immediately, log on to Spotify, go to R. Kelly’s page, and use this new feature to shut his ass up. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it sure will make you feel good for a minute.