When I began this blog I decided early on that I only wanted to write about topics that I had direct knowledge about. However, in this day and age, some of us can connect to different situations and ways of thinking thanks to the internet and more specifically social media. Recently there was a documentary produced about Robert Kelly aka “R. Kelly”, a prominent and one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter in America. The documentary highlights victim accounts of the treatment endured at the hand of R. Kelly and his team. Multiple women were interviewed and recounted stories of violence, sex, control, and isolation. Young girls were being taken advantage of at the most vulnerable time in their lives.
I’m sure I am not the only one who is documenting their opinion on the matter, however, I am sure very few people are going to share my opinion. My interpretation of what we have witnessed for decades is R. Kelly actively portraying learned behavior. As Kelly states in one of the first episodes of the series, he was molested and sexually abused by multiple individuals beginning at age 7. By the age of 12 Kelly was in the studio where he was sexualized by individuals who deviated from societal norms. Now take that same powerless 7,8,9 to 12 year old who has been told all their life that using minors for sexual acts and having power over them is normal behavior that should be explored. How was Kelly, like any other child, supposed to know that what he was seeing, hearing, witnessing, and being made a pawn for was the result of hurt people hurting people.
More often than not when a generational curse is passed down majority of us are willing to accept the persons’ behavior or situation because we can follow a path to know where the behavior comes from. For example, if a child grows up in a home with a parent or parental figure that is an alcoholic and the child grows up and has issues with alcohol you will hear people say things such as “Their parent had a problem so its no wonder that they do as well.” or “watch “the child” they have already picked up their parents’ bad habits.” However, when it comes to people acting out learned behavior that is sexual in nature we don’t want to do the necessary investigating to get to the root. We want swift justice by throwing the “deviant” into the prison system which isn’t exactly rehabilitating if that is the goal.
Kelly, like all children in his position, need healing. Prison isn’t and will never be a source of healing. Kelly needs the ability to break down the feelings and emotions that came about during his traumatic childhood. That is the only way Kelly’s previous, current, and possible future victims win. When the behavior is addressed at its root and Kelly can come to terms with what was done to him all those years ago do we as a community truly win. My statement that our community wont win until each and every individual heals from their wounds goes back to what I said about hurt people hurting people. I can use the classic “snowball effect” to best illustrate my point. When R. Kelly was taken advantage of snowball was created When Kelly made the decision, conscious or not, not to deal with his trauma the snow ball grew. With every victim, especially those who don’t have the tools and support to deal with such traumatic events the snowball picked up more size and was being tossed around from victim to victim spreading victimization like wildfire. And just like a real life game of hot potato, the victims were left scarred and with the potential to scar another.
In the end, someone stripped Robert Kelly of his ability to have a normal childhood that would lead to a normal life and he has subsequently done the same to multiple girls and their families. Someone made him feel so powerless that Kelly is now spending his life chasing the feeling of power and complete control. His need to fill his desires, like any human, was further exasperated by his fame, money, and the fact that he had plenty of people communicating to him that his behavior was acceptable either by helping him find and assert his power over young girls or by staying silent around him knowing what he is capable of. I am in no way condoning Robert Kelly’s behavior nor am I saying he should not have to answer for his actions. What I am saying is that while people decide which side they take in this particular situation, if any, remember that we all have skeletons in our closet that if they were made public people would have opinions about too whether positive or negative. The focus right now should be on educating ourselves on what grooming looks like and how to not fall victim to it. We should be building strategic solutions so that no one is taken advantage of, sexually or otherwise, in the future. If you think R. Kelly’s behavior is his and his alone you are sadly mistaken and at this point part of the bigger problem.
“We can never judge the lives of others because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho