In early January a documentary called Surviving R. Kelly aired, where shocking allegations of sexual abuse were made against the Rhythm and Blues singer.
These allegations added to several past criminal prosecutions against the singer, none of which has led to Kelly being charged. Kelly has denied the allegations made in the documentary. This article will outline some of what those allegations were and why they are important.
The show ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ has made global headlines after detailing shocking allegations against R&B singer, R. Kelly. Many different people were interviewed for the show, which ran over six hour-long episodes, making several disturbing allegations. It was alleged that Kelly had cult-leader like control over his girls, subjecting them to bizarre and demeaning requests. For example, it was alleged that the girls had to go to the bathroom in buckets.
Additionally, it was claimed that he made one of the girl’s dress as a male, forcing her to shave hair off and act like a man. Another allegation made against Kelly was that he forced girls to sign contracts, stating falsely that they tried to rob him. He would keep the contacts as an ‘insurance policy’. There have also been several allegations the Kelly has tried to solicit underage girls for sexual intercourse.
It should be noted that R. Kelly denies these claims and TMZ has reported that he’s called the documentary a vendetta against him and vowed to sue everyone involved. This documentary, however, has once again raised the difficult issue of how we should respond to allegations like this.
With the strength of the #MeToo movement growing, many people are feeling ready to share stories of their experience with sexual abuse.
A review of statistical information from the National Sexual Violence Resource Centre (NSVRC) in the United States, shows the extent of this issue. Approximately one in three women and one in six men will experience sexual violence at some point in their life. This number grows even higher for multiracial women, with 49.5% of them experiencing a form of sexual violence at some stage in their life. This documentary is important for sparking a societal discussion about the best ways of dealing with this complex issue. It’s only through discussing issues like this that we can find meaningful ways to move forward.
While Kelly clearly has musical talent, it is fair that we discuss his actions and how he chooses to use his celebrity influence.
This article has discussed the controversial documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly’. Some of the allegations arising from the documentary were examined. We also looked at how people speaking about their experience of sexual assault is essential to the continuing social conversation.
As Kelly plans to release a new album in the aftermath of this documentary, debate rages about how best to deal with Kelly’s behavior. Hopefully though, this discussion will help contribute to positive change and decrease the prevalence of sexual violence and how people respond to sexual misconduct.