Usually January reminds us of a new year filled with the opportunity to commit to new goals. However, this particular January of 2019 challenges us to commit to more significant concerns and to the rights, welfare and well-being of women.
This month a six episode documentary series portrayed the alleged sexual, emotional and physical abuse perpetrated by R Kelly on young and impressionable girls and women. The series implied that support of R Kelly’s musical career, power and fame allowed his sexual abuse to continue for this long. Although rumors have surfaced over the years, this documentary serves as the first opportunity for the women who have experienced abuse to come forward and share their stories of abuse and survival. R Kelley shares his own experience of abuse as a young child as well. However, his own abuse does not serve as justification of the abuse that he has perpetrated on others.
Issues of culture emerge as the role of race and ethnicity play in the importance of society’s treatment of the abuse of black women. A theory was offered throughout the documentary that reflected the belief that the abuse in part continued so long because of a societal tradition of a lack of care when it relates to black women and girls.
The importance of this series and the women who endured extensive abuse forces us to acknowledge the abuse that exists in this society and the steps that our society needs to take in order to stop the abuse of women (and all people). Sexual abuse has devastating effects on all individuals. Developmentally, sexual abuse experienced as a young female has long-term consequences and influences mental health, physical health and interpersonal relating. It is our responsibility as a society to protect all individuals from abuse, especially our young people.
Later this week, the third annual Women’s March will occur in DC as well as sister marches all over the country as well as internationally. The women’s marches serve to highlight the rights and welfare of women. See link for more information regarding the Women’s March and details of sister marches. https://www.womensmarch.com/**
Rainn.org has an extensive resource list of resources for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and their loved ones. https://www.rainn.org/national-resources-sexual-assault-survivors-and-their-loved-ones
View the Lifetime series, Surviving R Kelly. https://www.mylifetime.com/shows/surviving-r-kelly
**Immediately after publishing this blog post, controversy arose regarding allegations of antisemitism. Media reports made statements of division within the March’s original founders and it is unclear what the actual views of the founders are and what actually occurred regarding racial/ethnic discussions. It is unfortunate that a March that was created to unify all groups and communities of women could not in the end find a healthy way to collaborate in such a significant endeavor.