R. Kelly is a hot topic right now, as he’s been accused of raping minors, keeping minors locked up in his home for sexual purposes, and having inappropriate relationships with minors. We are talking about teenagers who ultimately are still just children. The testimony of many women and those close to him have illuminated what Kelly has done, although he still denies these claims. As a result of a recent docu-series on Lifetime called ‘Surviving R Kelly,’ he is being made fun of, judged, and hated on publicly by many within the industry as well as outside of it. On the surface, this is understandable given the crimes and atrocities he’s committed.
The star is known as a predator of teenage girls. When he was 27, he married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah at a secret ceremony in Chicago. Vibe magazine later discovered that they were able to change Aaliyah’s age on the wedding certificate listing herself as 18, even though she was only 15 at the time. The marriage was annulled in February 1995.
A girl by the name of Tiffany Hawkins sued R Kelly for the personal injuries and emotional distress she suffered during a three-year relationship with the star. In court documents, she said she began having sex with Kelly in 1991 when she was 15 and he was 24.
He has been charged with 21 counts of making child pornography involving intercourse, oral sex, urination, and other sexual acts. Chicago police accused him of videotaping each of these acts and enticing minors to participate in them.
Back in July 2017, a crowd gathered in Chicago as Timothy Savage told the world that he believed his 21-year-old daughter was being “held against her will” as part of an alleged sex cult led by R&B singer R Kelly.
As it turns out, she wasn’t the only one. Apparently, there were several women held captive as sex slaves in a home he owned.
The story made global news, and put the spotlight on the 51-year-old superstar’s private life – in particular, the rumours about his alleged sexual relationships with underage girls.
Savage claimed his daughter, Jocelyn, was part of an abusive sex cult, in which young girls were groomed and physically/sexually abused by Kelly.
R Kelly’s wife, ex-wife, and daughter have also been quite outspoken about his abusive behaviour, even more so now that so many people are gathering together and sharing their stories. When R. Kelly was making millions for record companies, it seemed to be swept under the rug. Along with these accusations also came many awards, fame, and notoriety.
It’s important to note that what we hear and what leaks out into the mainstream probably represents only a fraction of Kelly’s illegal activities. Many celebrities and members of the elite are often protected from the law, and many abused women and children may not feel comfortable coming forward.
How Should We React?
Amidst all of the judgement, anger, resentment and hatred towards R. Kelly, and any sexual predator, criminal, etc. for that matter, we often fail to address one of the most important questions: We forget to ask why and how.
There is no denying people have been hurt here, and it’s important to discuss what’s happened, but we must also discuss solutions. All we seem to do is judge, hate, and punish without asking why and how these things happen. It reminds me of how we operate prison systems in the western world. We claim to rehabilitate individuals, but really we just force them into incredibly poor conditions that often make their state of mind worse by the time of their release, and then we send them back out into society expecting that the past won’t repeat itself.
If we continue to judge, make fun, and ‘bash,’ we simply reinforce the cycle and allow it to continue without ever getting to the root cause of it, thus prolonging the issue instead of stopping it. In essence, just as we must provide a loving space for victims to process their experiences, we must also create that space for perpetrators.
As much as people may not want to hear it, ask yourself the question: Are we really changing anything by holding so much hate and judgment toward perpetrators? What happens when those hated individuals enter into bad rehabilitation systems and are out of prison a mere 5 or 10 years later? We’re perpetuating a cycle of disconnection.
Flipping The Script
People like R. Kelly are ‘sick,’ in the same way murderers, other rapists, and criminals are ‘sick.’ The only response from society has been judgement, and the result of that judgement is jail time which largely benefits politicians and corporations. It’s a modern day example of slavery, and actually has nothing to do with rehabilitation and fostering understanding and compassion.
When it comes to sexually abusing children, those who participate in this type of activity have often been subjected to severe childhood trauma themselves. It could be sexual or something else. As a result, they grow up and repeat what they have been through or look for other unhealthy ways to cope as they struggle to fit into society. This is something that has not been addressed nor understood by all of those who are participating in what’s become known as ‘elite level sexual abuse.’
In the case of R. Kelly himself, most people probably don’t realize he is a victim of child sex abuse. He has detailed in his autobiography how he was raped when he was eight years old, which continued for years. His brother also recently gave an emotional interview detailing how both of them were repeatedly raped at very young ages by their older sister, starting from when they were about 6 years old. They were forced to perform sexual acts on her as well as have intercourse. (source)
Think about what this does to a child at that age. This is trauma, and his behaviour may be a result of this trauma. Further, the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R Kelly clearly shows Kelly tries incredibly hard to protect himself from getting hurt. This is likely part of why he is so controlling. As hard as it is to watch and hear, it seems like he attempts to control every aspect of his life so that he avoids getting hurt. Does it mean it’s right to do? Of course not, it simply shows the frame of mind he’s operating from, and understanding that helps us figure out how we can help R Kelly. If we don’t put aside our hatred and judgement in order to feel compassion for these individuals, we will never find a solution. If we refuse, we not only fail to help the perpetrator, but we end up further perpetuating the issue and creating more victims.
Another great example would be the Vatican. Take Cardinal George Pell, for example, who recently became the highest ranking Vatican official to ever be convicted of child sexual abuse. This is something, most likely, he grew up experiencing himself. To him, it could be ‘normal’ behaviour, even if that’s at the subconscious level. Many of these Cardinals have been in the church since they were children. Not long ago, decades worth of sexual abuse was reported in a choir that was led by the retired pope Benedict’s brother. In that specific case, there were approximately 600 members of a Catholic boys’ Dompatzen choir in Regenburg, Germany who where physically and sexual abused from 1946 to 1992. Georg Ratzinger, the former Pope’s Benedict’s brother, was the choir’s head from 1964 to 1994.
Without treatment, many of these children may grow up and abuse young children. And if they don’t leave the church, they could end up further perpetuating the cycle of sexual abuse within it.
Asking The Important Questions
What does hatred do? What does judgement do? What progress will we ever make by making fun of these people, labelling them as psychopaths, and locking them up? On the other hand, what will love do? What does understanding do? What progress would be made without judgement and punishment, but rather with understanding, openness, transparency, and communication? We may need to detain these people to stop them from hurting others, but we must think of better ways of approaching this than our current methodology.
Don’t believe me? Hear it from a victim of elite child sex trafficking. We just put out a 4-part interview series with Anneke Lucas on January 17th, where she describes in detail her involvement as a child in an elite Belgian pedophile ring, her remarkable escape, and her healing journey over the last couple decades.
In the interview, she explains how vital it is during the healing process to not feel like a ‘victim,’ and that you actually empower your abuser by taking the victim stance or by labelling them as ‘crazy satanic pedophiles.’ She learned to look at them from a different perspective. Eventually, she felt sorry for her perpetrators and realized that the abusers are in need of something society is not ready to provide them with: the opportunity to heal.
Sexual abuse has been an issue deeply ingrained in society for centuries, and it’s in part because society fails to respond with compassion. We do the exact opposite of that. We make fun of, vilify, point fingers, punish, and kill criminals. We do not rehabilitate and we do not give a chance for ‘lost souls’ to connect to the light that exists within them, that light that exists within all of us. There is no talk of past trauma and healing, and this is one of the biggest problems when it comes to alleviating various crimes including sexual abuse and pedophilia.
These people have nobody to talk to, their always running and hiding and never addressing the root cause of their problems. As a result, many people experience pain and trauma, and the cycle continues.