I applaud John Legend for his willingness to speak out. I hope more men follow his lead. It angers me to hear how many men (and older women) around #rkelly had opportunities to (at minimum) report him to authorities and/or get these girls away, warn these parents, etc….and they didn’t.
A little of my story (sad truth, this isn’t even the tip, there are things I STILL cannot verbalize because it is damn unbelievable): I dated a navyman my sophomore year of high school, he is actually in my high school homecoming photo…he was a whole dick of a dude too, he only messed with high school girls. His uncle (much older and a rev) also displayed predatory behaviors, he wanted to sponsor me on a trip, but the stipulations included him being able to spend one-on-one time with me and being able to spend time at his home….my mom quickly picked up on the cues and opted out.
Still, me dating his adult nephew in the tenth grade didn’t seem to raise an eyebrow – from anyone. He did not look like a teenage boy, it was quite clear this man was older and out of school and I made it no secret that he was in the Navy. He was controlling, verbally abusive, uber sexually aggressive, even when you said “no” he said yes. He was just not a good dude all around. I’m not even sure how I came to date him in the first place. I do recall, returning home from college and him trying to “rekindle” our relationship. When I explained I was not interested as I’d finally accepted I was gay, he showed up at my house threatening to “rape” me and a friend (who was bisexual) straight. He eventually ended up egged my mom’s house with one of his friends and leaving. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s somewhere abusing some poor young girl right now. Smdh.
At 17, I briefly dated a man who was eleven years my senior. Again, it was considered “OK” by some because he was nice, respectful and I was “so mature”. Don’t get me wrong, he was nice and respectful, but he had no business messing with my teenage ass.
He used to encourage me to introduce him to my friends and would tell us we could “hang” at his home and stuff. Now I realize I was basically luring other girls to him 🤦🏾♀️(literally I just realized this, dammit me!). He slept with every friend I introduced him to…not a single one of us was over the age of 19.
Tell me, what does a 29 year old man have in common with 18/19 year old girls? Nothing. Looking back, I realize they came for us BECAUSE we were immature. They couldn’t run the bullshit on grown women that they did on us young girls.
When I was nine,I remember being told I was “thick” by a family member. He said he “was gone ask me for some” when I was “older” because we “technically” weren’t kin (a reference to my being adopted).
When I was eleven, he forced a kiss on me like I was a grown as woman….sometimes I can still feel the disgusting mustache and crusty lips and smell the beer reeking from him…I called him “uncle” he was in his late thirties/early forties when he did those things to me.
Still, it was his much older teenage sons who were the real predators. My first explicit remembrance of abuse (one in which I can recall the entire ordeal vs. bit and pieces) is at around age five or six. He was one of my “uncle’s” 18/19 year old sons (he may have been 16 or 17….he was damn sure old enough to know his private parts didn’t belong anywhere near a five year old child). The saddest thing that sticks out about that memory is I could see my adopted dad walking up the street…that didn’t stop my “cousin” though. I remember him rushing me so he could “finish” before my dad made it up the driveway. He did too.
People will say why didn’t you say anything…I WAS FUCKING FIVE…and HOW does a five year old explain what was done to her when SHE doesn’t even know what it is? I knew it wasn’t good, I knew that wasn’t a gotdamned lollipop dangling from his body like he said.
Still, I was AFRAID. I’d already gotten in trouble for things they’d done and blamed on me, despite my insistence I hadn’t done anything. Plus, I was often left alone with these boys and told I “better do what they say or else”…or else mean an ass whipping…and I came from the generation where parents could still beat your ass without question.
That’s what I was most afraid of, being hit, and they knew it. They used my fear of being hit and my history of not being believed to scare me into silence. It worked and it worked well.
For most it is easy to understand why children do not speak up. I say most because when my abuse was finally discovered, I was told I must’ve “liked it” because I didn’t say anything unlike my [relationship hidden to protect her identity] who was also accosted by the same “uncle” as a teenager – YEARS BEFORE I was even conceived.
PAY ATTENTION TO THAT LAST STATEMENT AND LET IT MARINATE…he tried this with another [adopted] family member before I was born, yet he was STILL allowed access to me?🤔 mmph. That’s another blog for another day. And before you get on your high horse judging my family for mistakes – go clean the cobwebs out your stable because TRUST ME, my family isn’t the only one….
Now, as I was saying….
As children, we have no idea how to respond to or handle the situation. How can a child know how to respond when the adults don’t even know what to do? And this is how silence is created, most sexual abuse/rape survivors are conditioned by abuse they endure as children.
By the time I was drugged by someone I thought I could trust at age 19 and (possibly) sold for $200 and left passed out to be raped by three individuals (possibly more)- women included – I didn’t even bother going to the police more less telling anyone in my family….for what? So they could blame me again? So they could tell me how my skimpy outfit, choice in friends, my sexual orientation, willingness to drink or experiment with drugs (at the time) and or whatever other bullshit reason they could come up with to make the rape my fault instead of the fault of the individuals who organized and perpetrated said rape? Hell na.
So I did what many women do, I shut up. I acted like it didn’t happen. I went on about my life hoping I could just forget about it. But you don’t forget about it….
You remember. Especially in times like this, when other women finally develop the courage to speak out and the world begins to attack them saying, YOU SHOULD’VE SPOKEN SOONER!
Children are told to never speak of such things. Even when they do, it is rarely done with the assistance of qualified professionals and often results in further damage because the violated are often blamed in those environments. I can’t speak for other races, but I know in the African American community, we’re sent to church…not to therapy. We’re not even gonna get started on how the Black Church handles counseling of sexually traumatized individuals.
I was LITERALLY TOLD I was filled with demons and had a Jezebel spirit because of my abuse. And now it was my duty to somehow conquer those demons, without actually addressing the abuse that they claimed causes said possession – that’s another blog for another day, chile.😔
As is the case with R.Kelly, many people knew/know these predators for who and what they are. They’ll condem the action as wrong but do nothing to intervene. Meanwhile, the survivors of these predators -when they began to emulate the abuse – are vilified, dogged, dragged, and call all kinds of names. What kind of message do you think this sends to the children/teens being abused?
So, yes. Many survivors of rape/childhood rape learn to keep it to themselves. Because we are taught to do so by individuals who see the problem, but turn a blind eye. By individuals who blame little girls for being “too fast” instead of grown men for being “f’n perverts”. By individuals who allow serial predators to remain in the family, despite having an “inkling” that something “ain’t right”….
THIS is why generations of #women endure this type of #abuse. Who tf is going to care about little black/brown girls/boys if our own people turn a blind eye when they see it? Who is supposed to care about black/brown women when we KNOW what’s happening but would rather ignore it because, I JUST DON’T WANT TO BELIEVE IT? #BillCosby #CatholicPriestScandal #Sandusky….and yall people want to question why it takes so long to speak up?Seriously?
We MUST do better for the girls coming behind us…boys too…cause the things that happen to some of our boys are just as heartbreaking.
WE. MUST. DO. BETTER.
PERIOD-T! (For those unfamiliar when you put a T at the end of the word period, it means I SAID WHAT I SAID AND IT IS NOT UP FOR DEBATE.)