Black Lives Will Matter When We Protect Our Kids From Child Predators Like R. Kelly: (Pt. 2)
There are no secrets that time does not reveal. Jean Racine
Black children are valuable “Black Lives” worthy of protection. We seem so busy sometimes trying to convince other people of this fact, we forget to validate our own folks. If we don’t protect them and teach them they are valuable in our communities, how do we expect them to grow up to become good, strong, stable decision-making adults.
We have robbed many Black children of this right with our silence, patronage, and protection of Robert Kelly (R.Kelly) and men like him.
Patronizing R. Kelly Financially Supports His Predatory Behavior
Buying is his music and going to his shows enables him to travel extensively with the young ladies he has brain-washed and hoarded away for his own perverted gratification. When we patronize R. Kelly we allow him to keep young women held up in studios and fancy hotels around the country in an effort to evade police. We allow him to use in money to pacify young naive girls considering leaving him.
Protecting R. Kelly Emboldens Him.
I can’t believe how many Black women were protecting R. Kelly as if they were his brother, father or personal benefactor. Forget camaraderie and solidarity with young girls and sisters when a good looking Black man attached to a dick is involved I suppose for some Black women. He can do no wrong! Protecting R. Kelly helped to create the monster he’s become. Eventually, he will slip up, they always do, but why must we wait.
How many girls has R. Kelly infected with STD/STIs? How many of those young ladies are now back home spreading the love? Protecting R. Kelly puts communities at risk!
Being Silent About Child Sexual Abuse Gives Consent to Predators
When the Black community is silent about child sexual abuse, blaming child victims for falling prey to predators, and not busy refusing to report child predators to the authorities, you give consent to predators they can continue to rape and molest young Black children. Mama’s boyfriend, mom’s little brother Uncle Bo Weavil. Aunt Cheryl, your young nephew Cleon, your brother-in-law, or a cousin get licenses to prey on the innocent. Silence snatches souls of the innocent and changes the trajectory of a young person’s life. Our silence tells children they don’t have anyone in their corner.
Taking care of a kid doesn’t just mean keeping a roof over their heads, feeding them, and ensuring they go to school Black people. It means policing them, protecting them, loving them, teaching them, and demonstrating we love them with our actions. Silence and our disbelief can negate all these things.
Silence puts kids on the roller coaster of navigating their sexual abuse all alone trying to figure it all out. Kids sexually and physically abused are at risk of going from the victim-to-predator-cycle, especially young boys sexually abused at an early age. When we don’t provide answer, solutions, and supports to young Black children who have experienced sexual abuse, we leave them all alone to figure their shit out.
They don’t always figure correctly. Case in point, Robert Kelly! Understanding the cycle of violence in our lives and how easily some children are predisposed to become predators will perhaps enable us to better protect our young Black children. We know about the violence inflicted upon our community by outsiders (i.e. White Supremacy, slavery, institutional racism), but we Black folks don’t talk nearly enough about the cycle of violence we experience in our own homes at the hands of our own people.
Understanding violence and how the trauma of violence creates victims and monsters will help us understand how R. Kelly became a predator, how young girls fell prey, and how the Black community enables a child sexual predator to move freely about the country.
Cycle of Violence
There are relationships where you can see a predictable cycle of violence with several distinct phases. This is not…
The Victim-to-Perpetrator Cycle
Various studies over the years indicate a high percentage of male subjects abused in childhood by a female relative became perpetrators in the victim-to-perpetrator cycle. I noticed R. Kelly had two sisters, neither of which were interviewed for the story. Was it perhaps one of Kelly’s sisters, an aunt, or some other woman in the Kelly family who molested Kelly and his younger brother? No women from the Kelly family has spoken on the record. Another telling sign that the R.Kelly’s perpetrator was perhaps a female family member.
The Role of Black Women in the Victim-to-Perpetrator-Cycle
According to Wikipedia, Kelly grew up in a house full of women, whom he said would act differently when his mother and grandparents were not home. Kelly’s family apparently had lots of issues and little support. Very little was done to protect the children, making the home a ripe breeding ground for monsters. Where were those female relatives of Kelly’s? Their absence is quite telling.
Sadly, we Black women sometimes punish the boys/men in our families because of the sins of the no-good men we chose. If mama was impregnated by a no-good dud because she herself was a victim of sexual abuse seeking a man to fill the void left from innocence stolen, then the child usually feels the brunt of the abuse usually manifested in neglect, abuse, or abandonment sometimes she doesn’t look after her son well. Daddy being absent also doesn’t help.
Many Black women do what we are infamous for doing, and that’s making Jesus our boyfriends as we check out of child-rearing and real life. We check out of parenting our children seeking solace and peace from our hurts, loneliness, and trauma. By doing so, we provide a playground for predators who know you aren’t looking, and when you are looking, you’re looking to the sky for “help” and “answers” from God.
What kind of God allows predators to prey on young children? I thought he loved children. Why does God allow parents to be AWOL, leaving children unprotected? Why is God so selfish, requiring so much time with him he requires Black women to neglect their children? It’s almost as if Black women go to God to wash away their sins of having children out of wedlock and whatever other secrets we have that we’re ashamed of. Jesus washes our sins away, and He allows others to get away with the sin of child sexual abuse.
How Child Predators Are Made
Characteristics studied by psychologist to determine which who was most at risk of falling into victim to being a sexual offender include: (a) the victim characteristics, (b) perpetrator characteristics, abuse characteristics, (d) post-abuse factors, and (e) family factors. Literature also suggests preliminarily that post-abuse masturbation, fantasy, and pleasure related to the abuse moderate the victim to offender cycle. R. Kelly’s music is a window to his mind.
Since this piece is directed towards the Black community, I pose this question to the Black community:
Why has the Black community ignored the signs for so long?
R. Kelly is telling us what he thinks about sex as it relates to young girls (he uses the word girl a lot in his songs instead of woman), and how he treats/thinks of women with each song. Why is this acceptable to Black people? It’s downright evil if you think of the words of his songs in context with child sexual abuse perpetrated upon young Black women and girls. Why are our standards so low? Why don’t Black women, teen girls (and boys), and young children matter to anyone in this world? And why do we have children we can’t support mentally, emotionally, or financially?
Hurt people, hurt people.
Additionally, future sexual offender studies note family factors, including parental loss, experiencing multiple forms of abuse, and family supports moderate the victim to perp cycle outcome. It seems R. Kelly met many of the criteria, making him a prime candidate for the victim-to perpetrator-cycle.
Having been a victim of child sexual abuse at an early age for a long period of time by a female was a strong predictor of Kelly eventually becoming a perpetrator of sexual abuse. Kelly also appears to have lacked parental supports and suffered parental loss in childhood. At a young age, Kelly was often sexually abused by a woman who was at least ten years older than himself. “I was too afraid and too ashamed,” Kelly wrote in his 2012 autobiography Soulacoaster about why he never told anyone.
It’s also noted R. Kelly’s father was absent throughout his life, likely representing a huge loss and leaves a big deficit he could never recoup. R. Kelly’s former music teacher Lena McLin description of Kelly’s childhood home:
“It was bare. One table, two chairs. There was no father there, I knew that, and they had very little.”
It doesn’t sound like there was a lot of love or financial resources in the Kelly home. That’s on us! Why do we only worry about own kids, allowing those around us less fortunate not to experience the love, wisdom and blessings we have in an effort to give or restore some quality to their young lives during the formative years. Love, quality time, socializing, some food, and attention can go along way in saving one Black girl or boy.
The easiest, most callous thing a Black man or woman can do is turn their head and be silent when we see child abuse and neglect of any kind.
According to R. Kelly’s 2012 autobiography, when he was eight years old he had his first girlfriend, a girl named Lulu. Their last play date turned tragic when, after fighting with some older children over a play area by a creek, Lulu was pushed into the water. Shortly after, she was found dead downstream. The loss of LuLu was yet another setback in the life of a child who appears to have had the odds stacked against him.
The Black community failed R. Kelly as a child and now we want to crucify him now that he’s a monster. He’s the monster in the castle Black folks created.
This is one of the problems I had with prosecuting children of sex crimes. Oftentimes we want to punish the perpetrator, but we failed to deal with the perpetrator’s issues when they initially were violated. We also don’t correct their inappropriate behavior as children with our silence enabling them to become these huge, violent monsters. We send many signals to perpetrators that their injuries didn’t matter. R. Kelly is a monster that needs to be in jail. But he is also sick and in need of treatment for child sexual predators. He should not be free without such treatment and monitoring.
Perhaps if Kelly had been treated for his victimization and predatory behavior as a child, maybe he wouldn’t have been the young Black woman’s worst nightmare. There was a point before jail this man could have been reached. Black silence has made it impossible to cure this monster now. He’s too big, too bad, too strong, too wealthy, too protected, and too enabled. The only thing that can stop him is a judge and a long prison sentence. Rehab must take place after the fact.
Monsters have no place in our communities of any color, but especially our own color.
Because we can’t look at Kelly’s entire paternal and maternal family trees, it’s hard to determine whether the monster R. Kelly eventually became was due nature (genetics) or nurture (the lack of love and support).
I’m in no way standing up for R. Kelly, simply showing you how we all had a hand in not only harboring a predator, but we also created him. We must be able to view things systemically in order to solve the problem of child sexual abuse. R. Kelly is a symptom and the manifestation of the disease of silence in the Black community. Robert Kelly’s childhood environment (school, home, the music industry, friends, the community, church, family, mother, siblings) created the monster we now call R. Kelly.
Pat yourselves on the back! It’s nothing to be proud of. It’s also nothing we should be protecting. We need to check ourselves family! The Black community needs to understand how this cycle sexual abuse continues with our silence.
The mother was silent. If she didn’t know about the abuse happening in her home, that’s a problem too signifying mom could not be trusted, was too trusting or checked out.
R. Kelly’s sisters (if alive) are silent. His brothers are discussing their childhood sexual abuse but they refuse to name their predator essentially safe-harboring them.
R. Kelly’s music teacher was silent.
The public school he attended and the school district was silent. Money in the form of donations often causes a lapse in judgment.
Far too many Black adults missed Black child trauma. Are we asking ourselves why or how? There are far too many Black women who were molested my friends or family members as children. If you don’t know one of these women, you are apart of the problem because you aren’t looking at, listening to, or hearing out Black women and girls.
Hurt People Hurt People
The one thing I’ve learned in this life is that Mother Nature doesn’t give everyone the ability to cope with their trauma and pain. Mother Nature doesn’t distribute good parents fairly either. Some of us are born into shitty families, to mothers who were hurt via sexual abuse simply searching for someone to rescue them from their traumas and pains. Mothers whose growth was stunted leaving them without the capacity to help their children through their sexual traumas if experienced. Even how or who we pick as sex partners, lovers, and spouses. Our trauma drives those decisions.
When we don’t deal with our issues, we never heal from those issues.
When Black lives truly matter, we Black folks will do a better job at protecting each other, especially our most vulnerable. You don’t hurt people you love. Right now, the kind of love the Black community gives to victims of child sexual abuse hurts a lifetime. We gotta do better. My final essay will provide solutions to this madness. It’s horrific what we do to our children. The buck stops with us! No one is going to love our children like us.
Horror is like a serpent; always shedding its skin, always changing. And it will always come back. It can’t be hidden away like the guilty secrets we try to keep in our subconscious. ~ Dario Argento
Missed the first essay, find it here: