Perspective, Real Talk

On this R. Kelly Thing…

I debated about whether or not I was going to post anything about this because good grief, whatever side you fall on, I’ve heard some hella cringy things. But I wrote a whole damn romance trilogy centered around a young black boy who figures out he can’t have meaningful relationships and a brighter future without tackling the child sexual abuse he experienced so it would behoove me to talk about this.

Full disclosure. I’ve never been raped or experienced being sexually abused. I have friends who have. I’ve had people tell me their stories. I’ve witnessed the awful results and how the cycle of behavior just continues. But I’ve been blessed not to experience that.

However, I’m very aware that I live in a world where women, black women in particular, are only seen as objects and only valued for their bodies and what they can do for a man no matter gifted and intelligent she is, which makes us “easy” victims of prey. I also am very aware that black men, in this particular sense, don’t have it much better when it comes to being objectified for their bodies and entertaining white folks. If you have an issue with me pointing that out, there are examples of this from 2019 going all the way back to slavery that prove this. You can start with Colin Kaepernick.

All that said, I was only able to watch the first two parts of the R Kelly docu-series so I can’t imagine how much it triggered someone who was actually sexually abused before.

However, I’ve been actively part of the conversation on my Facebook. Quite frankly, I’m appalled at the people who DEFEND R. Kelly and his behavior. I think it’s unnecessary to discuss whether or not he’s guilty. There’s too much actual evidence, testimony, the words in his music, the whole Aaliyah situation and etc. to argue about that.

I’m a lot more concerned that R. Kelly and the reactions are just a widescale example of what’s going on in, particularly, the black community.

I see a lot of people saying that they’re tired of talking about this, that this is an attack on a black man, that the girls were fast, that the girls knew what they were getting into, and their parents knew so whatever. This is the mindset that allows people like R. Kelly to continue to victimize young girls and boys.

Because it’s such a sticky topic and some of us really don’t want to think the people we admire and love could be capable of doing something so horrible to not just one person, but a lot of people. So instead of dealing with the predator, we deal with the victim. We make the behavior of the victim the crime instead of saying wait a minute there’s no young girl or boy fast enough to seduce a grown man or woman who likes sleeping with children.

As young girls and boys grow up and start to discover their sexuality, they start playing with and experimenting with the power that comes with their sexuality. They don’t know what to do with it, they really aren’t sure what it might lead to or know what they’re comfortable with or know if they really wanna have sex, but they wanna learn about it. However, it’s the job of the adult who knows better not to take advantage of that delicate time in a young person’s development and to direct it in an appropriate and healthy manner.

An adult who takes advantage of a young person at that time is sick. The fact that they would allow themselves to take advantage of that shows that they’re attracted in the first place and they use the “he/she wanted it” as a way to try to excuse their sick behavior.

Then, instead of talking about it when it’s pointed out, we sweep it under the rug and do a disservice to both the victim and the predator.

The victim, instead of getting the help and therapy they need, now has to internalize this on their own and as a result become hypersexual or uninterested in sex or have trouble making meaningful connections with people beyond a sexual relationship or they become the predator/enabler and the cycle continues to the next generation.

We do the predator a disservice by enabling them to continue in their behavior because no one forced the predator (if our tempers have not gotten the better of ourselves and the predator is still alive) to see that they did something not just wrong, but reprehensible, and made sure the predator got dealt with accordingly.

Now I don’t know what being dealt with accordingly is for the predator. Obviously, they aren’t afraid of going to jail. They’re not afraid of death. They’re not afraid of their reputations being ruined. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on October 14, 2018, said that R. Kelly has God in him, but he needs to be CLEANSED. And I’m not God or his messegner. I don’t even know where to begin to do that or help someone like that or if I would even want to. God has a lot of attributes, mercy and vengeance being two of them. I lean more toward vengeance. So you can get an idea of my feelings on that and that could be wrong.

What I do know is that many of these predators weren’t born predators but were abused themselves as children and didn’t get the help they needed and the cycle has continued to repeat itself. I know that a lot of people, especially black women and girls, are hurting because of this problem. And at some point, we’ve got to stop this cycle and do something different because what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working.

Finding a solution means keeping conversations going. I don’t care that people are tired of hearing about it. Because not talking about it is part of what created the environment for an R. Kelly to thrive in the first place.

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