Over the past few years, we have heard many stories about Robert Kelly, a/k/a R. Kelly and the young, underage girls he has allegedly stalked and brought “under his wing” only to allegedly hold them against their will and sexually abuse them. There are so many questions as to how he was able to prey on young girls and teens. After watching the Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” so many unanswered questions clouded my mind:
- How was Kelly allowed to get away with crimes against young girls and teens?
- Where were the school administrators, teachers, principals and what did they do in an attempt to remove Kelly from the campuses and surrounding areas? Why were they not held accountable for protecting the students from a pedophile and predator?
- Were parents ever notified by the schools?
- Why were the parents who allegedly brought their teen daughters to Kelly never charged with trafficking their daughters?
- Did any of the girls involved receive counseling after their alleged imprisonment?
The R. Kelly scenario is a stark reminder to ALL parents and guardians that it is our responsibility to be our child’s biggest advocate. When it comes to the safety of our children and their mental wellbeing, from the time they are brought home from the hospital until they are able to go out into the world on their own as adults, it is our responsibility to ensure their safety and to not allow them to become victims of sexual predators.
I have heard from survivors of childhood sexual abuse that they refused to watch the Kelly documentary; however, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who has shared my experiences, I felt it was very important for me to watch this series because I wanted to know more about the Kelly story and how his behavior affected the young women he victimized. I wanted to hear their stories – stories that deserved to be heard, regardless of the fact that their experiences occurred years ago, and despite the fact that he was found not guilty of child pornography charges.
I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I was stalked by a pedophile who lived in our home. I was afraid to tell my mother that her husband had been molesting me for years, from the age of 7 years old until I was around 12-13 years old. My mother was made aware of the abuse when I was in my freshman year of high school. Once she was told, I waited for my mother to take me in her arms, tell me that she loved me and that I was not to blame for the abuse I experienced, and let me know that she would see to it that my abuser – her husband – would be dealt with. However, she did nothing to protect me, her only daughter. No call to authorities, no counseling for me, no separation or divorce from him. I was betrayed, not just by her husband, but also by my mother, because she did not protect me – my abuser was still present in our home. My relationship with my mother was never the same after that because I no longer felt I could trust her.
As a grandmother, I have had conversations with my grandchildren about being alert in their surroundings and creating boundaries for their safety. If at any time one of my grandchildren shares that they have been molested or abused in any way, I will respond immediately – including notifying authorities of their abuse. Children should never feel uneasy about coming to us when they have been sexually assaulted, abused, or raped. Parents and guardians are responsible for setting boundaries for children, as well as telling them that they may one day encounter situations that put them at risk. Parents and guardians are responsible for ensuring children know that we are in their corner and will do anything in our power to keep them from being sexually exploited or abused, whether by a friend, another adult or child, or family member. In addition, we must remind our children that they are never at fault when someone crosses boundaries and causes them harm through sexual abuse. Our children deserve to be safe – FIRST and FOREMOST!
Listen and talk to your children regularly. If they are not talking to you, pay attention to their behavior. Get involved with knowing what they are doing and who they are friends with outside of your home. Set rules and boundaries for your children. Do whatever you need to do to keep your children from becoming victims of people like R. Kelly.