Black Lives Matter When We Protect Our Kids From Child Predators Like R. Kelly: (Pt. 3)
I’ve shared with the Black community about our problem with child sexual abuse. I have shared with the Black community about our problem with protecting harboring child sexual predators like R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, Rick James, and any grown man breaking the law sleeping with underage girls/boys.
I have shared with the Black community our problems of silence/protection, victim-blaming, victim-shaming, and creating environments that turn young male victims into brutal, serial predators.
Now I’m going to provide the Black community with solutions on how to decrease the occurrences of child sexual abuse (especially among girls) and how to avoid harboring child sexual predators in our communities.
If Black lives truly matter, that should most certainly include the lives of Black children. R. Kelly is the Black community’s Harvey Weinstein. We must protect our children from monsters like these famous ones as well as the local ones.
Learn the Laws Regarding Child Sexual Abuse
My people, please learn and keep up with state and federal laws about child sexual abuse, the ages of consent and variances in partner ages, child pornography and laws about teen sexting. Knowing and understanding state and federal child sexual abuse laws are half the battle. Letting the law guide us will help protect us from once child turned adult predators like R. Kelly. Grown men can’t fuck little girls, it’s illegal! Period. And no adult should sexually abuse any child, regardless of a child’s gender or orientation. Ignorance is no excuse.
Learn about statutory rape laws for your state, check your state sex offender registry and the national sexual abuse registries. Learn about mandated reporting, and the ages of consent (for all 50 states and U.S. territories) and acceptable age differences (no men, you just can’t have sex with any old young girl all willy-nilly. Teach the young men in your life this too). There is a difference between state and federal ages. Learn about internet crimes against children (ICAC), and learn about resources available regarding federal child pornography laws.
There are laws on the books in every state to protect children from predators and child abuse. If perps walk it’s because we’re not turning them in and we’re not helping the police with evidence to make convictions slam dunks.
How and Where to Report Sex-Related Child Abuse Violations
There is a way to report everything. The Black community needs to learn to report sex-related child abuse. Seeing something and not saying anything is a green light to predators. Remember in all types of exploitation with the exception of child abuse and some obscenity are governed by the feds. Know the severity of the crimes and state/federal are a parent’s responsibility.
It’s up to you to teach your child so they won’t commit any crimes or become victims of them. Once you’re educated, it’s our responsibility to arm others with knowledge. There are a lot of lazy, ignorant folks out here committing crimes every day because there were too lazy to learn if what they were doing is against the law. We have laws on the books to protect our children. It’s up to us to learn, know, teach, and most importantly enforce them!
Child Pornography: To report an incident involving the possession, distribution, receipt, or production of child pornography, file a report on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)’s website at www.cybertipline.com, or call 1–800–843–5678. Your report will be forwarded to a law enforcement agency for investigation and action. Anyone video children 0–17 is considered a child pornography producer, including the young children videotaping themselves and sharing it in a same-age sex partner relationship that’s consensual. R. Kelly is filming and keeping sex acts performed on young kids. It’s child porn and it’s a crime.
Child Sexual Abuse: To report Child sexual abuse matters contact your local and state authorities, not the federal government. Local child welfare agencies will investigate and refer cases of child abuse immediately. Calling the wrong governmental entity will delay getting children the help they need. Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 800–656-HOPE (4673) Online chat: online.rainn.org or Español: rainn.org/es. Child abuse laws vary from state to state. Learn your state statutes on child abuse by going online or contacting your local/state child welfare office.
Obscenity: To report inappropriate text messages, emails, via social media, inappropriate/obscene photos, etc. sent to young children by adults hoping to groom their future prey, file a report on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)’s website at www.cybertipline.com, or call 1–800–843–5678. Your report will be forwarded to a law enforcement agency for investigation and action.
We don’t realize how lude or obscene much music we’ve digested. I can think of Rick James’ “She Was on 17,” and Kelly’s “Age Ain’t Nothin But a Number” done with the Aliyah. We heard, some of us were uncomfortable, but we still supported them. The Black community must change its stance on the types of music we allow ourselves and our children to gain access to. We must also check artists of any genre who put into our atmospheres that it’s okay to fuck young underage girls because it’s not! Teach your sons about how their bodies and minds work, and how their actions cannot only harm others, but harm themselves as well.
Prostitution: To report prostitution or human trafficking (i.e. a young girl sneaking out of the house to meet a grown dude on social media and she’s kidnapped, locked in a hotel room for a few days, and sold for sex by her kidnappers against her will). Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1–888–3737–888, or file a confidential online report at http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/report-a-tip. Your report will be forwarded to a law enforcement agency for investigation and action.
R. Kelly paid lots of girls on video prior to sex acts, and they performed sex acts for food, shelter, phones, shopping, travel, the promise of a music career in the industry. R. Kelly is a pimp people! So are a lot of old perverted me you already know.
Sex Offender Registration: To report non-compliant people in your community, family members or friends who are convicted sex offenders (check the sex offender registries to verify registration) but failed to register, send an email to the United States Marshals Service (USMS) National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC) at Iod.firstname.lastname@example.org.
R Kelly should be on this list, but we don’t tell on him, so he gets to keep offending young girls and women. Silence is a license with permissions.
Now, there is no excuse for you Black folks to say they didn’t know what to do. Don’t allow a situation sexual in nature to go unaddressed. The sooner we address a child’s trauma, the sooner we can get on with the business of the child’s healing.
How Do We Protect Young Black Lives
Police, Police, Police
Parents, I can’t stress enough policing your children. I don’t care how good they are, how smart they are, or how chill they are, kids will sneak to do the things they want to do. Predators will aid them during the honeymoon phase in an effort to gain their trust. Sleeping on your parenting job is asking for trouble. Smartphones and a lack of parental engagement is the combo for the beginning of what could turn into a problem in your home.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t trust our kids, I’m saying certain age teens need monitoring like toddlers again and we get this piece of parenting all wrong. We give too much freedom with age that’s not rightly earned or deserved. Fuck rights of passage, think of policing as a way to keep your kids from predators like Kelly. Kids have more time to get into trouble because we give them more freedom than they can handle and most trust than they deserve.
It’s my opinion kids (teens included) should never, ever have access to free, unlimited smartphone use without parental controls and substantial. For Android phones, I like Google Family Link, but there are many parental control apps parents can use to monitor their children straight from their cellphones. If your kid isn’t 18 and doesn’t pay their own cell phone bill, they shouldn’t have unmonitored cellphone usage. Remember, a smartphone is a mini hand-held computer/phone.
The same applies to computers, iPads, tablets and any other device that connects to the internet used to communicate with people, including potential child sexual predators. They shouldn’t be used in private because that’s where all the bad things are said and done (like nude photos being sent, obscene texts, suggestions to have sex, inappropriate conversations). Kids can also use phones in private to search for sex, watch porn, or learn about sex.
If your kid hits the wrong sex site or visit one being monitored by ICAC and those alphabet boys could be knocking at your door. In children’s advocacy, most advocates usually advise against getting young children smart devices due to them not being fully aware of the dangers of online internet use.
No one needs a smart device, so don’t feel guilty or unhip because your kid doesn’t have one. We lived generations without them. It’s about guarding your child’s heart and protecting his/her young, impressionable minds.
R. Kelly thrived because parents weren’t paying attention. Don’t let it happen on your watch. Don’t feel guilty. Parenting is your job.
And don’t forget to protect children’s bodies and minds. Children left unattended (especially teens) are highly susceptible to getting themselves into trouble. Teens should be involved in extra-curricular activities (supervised of course), and children need plenty of supervision. Idle minds are really the devil’s playhouse. You are in charge of your child’s mind. You’re also in charge of the mind of kids you allow around your kids. All friends aren’t good ones. Some kids bring trouble. Help and educate when you can, but recognize some kids don’t want to be saved, and some are just bad seeds from bad souls.
We can save everyone, but we can sure try!
Trust No One
Most children are molested by family members, close family friends, neighbors, and other close associates. Most sexual abuse occurs in places your child frequents (schools, locker rooms, bathrooms, church, in your home, or at a family member’s home), places you are comfortable allowing your child to be in. There is no such thing as “predator-proof” or 100% safe, so keep your guards up at all times.
Most importantly, family and very close friends rape our kids more than strangers do. This means Uncle Bo, grandpa, your cousin your kids visit in the summer or a friend’s dad will molest your kid faster than the random dude walking down the street. Trust your gut. Talk to your children about inappropriate touching, not being vulnerable in enclosed spaces, and bedtime which is when a lot of child sex crimes occur. Predators think kids are asleep so they try to sneak into the bedrooms to molest kids.
Bedtime is also when kids with unmonitored smartphones make plans. The make plans to go off and screw grown men soliciting them on social media (statutory rape), communicate with grown men in their DMs (that’s why unmonitored social media access is so dangerous), and text inappropriate photos, videos and texts without their parents’ knowledge. Parents need to be vigilant, monitoring their kids like their newborn babies. Don’t ever get so comfortable a kid feels they can do anything they want and you don’t know.
If your kids has this attitude, you’ve checked out of parenting.
I don’t care how big kids get, they are still just young babies to me. They don’t know all the dangers, they don’t understand all the risks, and they don’t know how to get their butts out of jams they get into most times.
Trust no one. Don’t ever feel so comfortable that you allow a predator to rape your child. Anyone and I mean anyone can be a predator. Some men date women because they want to access their kids. Pay attention to the signs, watch your children. Ask questions, and trust your gut. When all else fails, your gut doesn’t lie to you.
Teach Children About Good Touches and Bad Touches
Children need to know at an early age about good touches and bad touches. Teaching kids how to sense when they feel something wrong, the appropriate names for private body parts, how to only do things they want to do (like kissing, hugging, unsafe and uncomfortable touching, unwanted touches, and what to do if/when someone touches them the wrong way. Teaching kids about trust and that some adults violate that trust is super important. Preparing children for good and bad touches is vital to their well-being.
Teach our children their bodies belong to them, and that they should tell someone they trust if they believe their trust has been violated. Parents and caretakers need to all be on the same page, this includes dad. Good men don’t touch girls inappropriately, and they know the right ways to touch women and girls so they aren’t made uncomfortable. It’s taught, it doesn’t come naturally.
While Good Touch Bad Touch is for very young children, parents and caretakers can modify it to have discussions with older children about the importance of understanding good touches and bad touches.
Teach boys about the importance of boundaries, and that their dicks are their problems, not a young girl or woman. Parents need to teach their sons and daughters about statutory rapes laws, as most times boys are the ones who have to prove themselves innocent (especially in cases where sex is consensual between teens close in age), and how touches are like matches. If you keep striking a match, eventually it starts a fire that will need to be put out. That’s an intro to Sex 101 for teens lol.
Teach Children How to Communicate
Children need to know who they can talk to if they feel they’ve been violated. They also need to know it’s okay to discuss sexual abuse or anything for that matter with the right people. Kids also need to be aware of oversharing with the wrong people. Teach kids to communicate with people will help them, not harm them. The only way we will ever know about the child abuse within our communities is if the kids tell us about it. We must make it okay for kids to tell us about their abuse as well as their trauma.
I remember about 10–15 years ago I was sitting around in a room at home full of Black women from my Sunday school class when I was a practicing Christian, about 15 of us or so. We were discussing the topic of healing and trauma. I shared by stories of sexual abuse, rejection, and disbelief. Then I did something. I asked how many women in that room had ever been touched inappropriately, abused/molested sexually as a child, or raped. Everyone woman in the room had been except one. We all shared stories about our traumas, some for the first time.
That’s when I really learned the power of communicating sexual abuse and how being silenced and not believed inflames our trauma. Black folks have lots of trauma, and we’re never given a safe place to heal from them. We need to talk more about it. We need to share our stories with our children so they’ll understand why we are the way we are, and we need to tell the world so we can help women not become victims of predators.
Finally, straight talk is the best talk. I listen to lots of hip hop for the soul purpose of learning the new ways kids talk. There are new names to describe sex acts. Knowing this language can aid in teen sex talks.
Know the Signs
Fast girls ain’t fast, they are little girls dealing with the fact someone stole their innocence. Their bodies and minds are out of sorts and they are trying to cope with their new realities the best way they know how (which is usually poorly). Acting out, being hyper-sexual, fixated on men and boys, having problems with behavior and academics in school, becoming sexually active at an early age.
I’ll never forget the day I disclosed my sexual abuse to my step-mother, who was much younger than my father and childless. Her response was “I knew something was wrong.” I got angry all over again. She saw me acting out, she knew something was wrong but didn’t ask because she didn’t want to deal with any untidy disclosures. I was not a consideration. I was left to struggle all alone.
This is a perfect example of a woman who aided in harming a Black child. It’s just that simple. The easiest, most cowardly thing a man or woman can do is look away from child abuse.
Children perpetrating sexual acts on other kids is a difficult subject, but it happens more than we’d like to discuss. While touching anatomy innocently is human nature, full-out sex acts (playing mama and daddy, having intercourse, oral, anal, or other types of sex acts) are not. One kid has learned the behavior or seen the behavior exhibited (sometimes older siblings have younger ones watch porn) and is practicing what they’ve learned on an innocent child. This is how the victim to predator cycle begins.
Punishing is not the way to address this situation. Investigating is though. Once an investigation is completed, you’ll probably find a whole can of worms, but you will have gotten to the root of the problem.
There are always signs. Kids change almost immediately after trauma. Some kids are very mature and wait for the right time to disclose their trauma. Others have other issues that may prevent them from building the trust needed to share child sexual abuse. So, paying attention to the children around you is the only way to tell sometimes if a child is being sexually abused.
Have Safe Spaces/Be a Safe Space
Too many women and girls in the R. Kelly docu-series did not have safe places to disclose their sexual abuse. And when they do it wasn’t a good experience. We need more safe places to discuss sexual abuse with real engagement, real solutions, validation, support, love, kindness, and most importantly forgiveness. Both men and women survivors of child sexual abuse need this more than anyone one because often their crimes go unreported. We need safe places to heal, to grow, and we need to fully understand how sexual violations changes our entire destiny. Sex via violation needs a long-term platform in our community just like anti-racism is a staple.
Meet in libraries, online, and heck, open up some of these old life centers with no life in them to allow people to discuss their traumas. I’m all for separate and co-ed classes, as well all need to understand how we deal and process sexual abuse differently. Have a group of friends who were sexually abused as children, have drop-ins to focus on trauma. Food makes everything better, but I suggest avoiding alcohol for obvious reasons (addiction issues, emotions, etc.).
Make the safe space you’d want to come into.
Know Who Is Required to Report Child Abuse
This is a biggie! Mandated reporters are people who MUST report child abuse if they hear, see it, get wind of it in gossip, or when it’s disclosed to them by a victim. All States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have statutes identifying persons who are required to report suspected child maltreatment to an appropriate agency, such as child protective services, a law enforcement agency, or a State’s toll-free child abuse reporting hotline.
Social workers, teachers, principals, and other school personnel, physicians, nurses, and other health-care workers, counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals, child care providers, medical examiners or coroners, and law enforcement officers are required to report child physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in all 50 states and territories.
Additionally, Some other professions frequently mandated across the States include commercial film or photograph processors (in 12 States, Guam, and Puerto Rico) and computer technicians (in 6 States). Film processors are mandated reporters in Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Computer technicians are required to report in Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.
Substance abuse counselors are required to report in 14 States, and probation or parole officers are mandatory reporters in 17 States. Substance abuse counselors are required to report in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Probation or parole officers are mandated reporters in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
Directors, employees, and volunteers at entities that provide organized activities for children, such as camps, day camps, youth centers, and recreation centers, are required to report in 13 States.
Institutions also have legal obligations to report child abuse. “Institutional Reporting” refers to those situations in which the mandated reporter is working (or volunteering) as a staff member of an institution, such as a school, church or hospital, at the time he or she gains the knowledge that leads him or her to suspect that abuse or neglect has occurred.
If you’re working with kids, you’re likely required to report child sexual abuse. Know the mandated reporters in your community/state, ensure they are trained properly, and hold them accountable for not fulfilling their legal obligation. My mind keeps going back to the teacher and the school district in the docuseries who identified R.Kelly as a musical genius and a perv, and allowed him to troll schools because they failed to report him to the appropriate authorities.
At the end of the day, it takes a village to raise a child. When one falls, we all fall. When one fails, we’ve all failed. There is plenty of blame to go around in the R. Kelly scandals. There is also plenty of room for us all to grow in children’s advocacy and child protection. If we would pay attention, make better choices, check and prosecute our perverts, and understand the laws we could reduce the number of children and women harmed and traumatized by child sexual abuse.
We can no longer afford to ignore this problem. You want to reduce the number of unwed teen mothers, reduce the number of incidences of child sexual abuse which lead to a number of unwanted pregnancies. You want to reduce the number of households led by single Black women…let’s check child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse has a way of manifesting itself years and generations later when left unidentified and unchecked, usually at the worst time.
Black lives truly do matter to me. Black Children are the most vulnerable, the most neglected, and the most unprotected in our group. The R.Kelly series highlighted how our community has let our children down. While we cannot go back to undo the past, we can do better in the coming future to love, protect, support, and believe our kids when they tell us they are being harmed at the hand of Black people. Let us all do our parts. Every Black child is our child. When one falls, we all fall. When one fails, we all fail. When one child is hurt, we all hurt.
No more passes. No more silence. No more harm. Be the change you want to see. Let’s #MuteRKelly and don’t give it a second thought. Some Black people need to be canceled. Predators like R.Kelly should be at the top of our lists. Thanks for hanging in here with me. This was a long series, but so worth it for our kids and.
Missed the problems in the Black community I noted in parts one and two? Check them out here: