Our partners at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center put out the following statement regarding the charges of criminal sexual abuse filed today against singer R. Kelly. This case, like so many that have come before it, is about both the individual actions of an abuser and the broader culture that enabled them to victimize dozens for years without consequence.
In particular, Black women and girls are disproportionately the victims of abuse, and they have suffered in invisibility for far too long. RALIANCE applauds the bravery of the Black women and girls whose activism has brought R. Kelly’s actions to light. We all must listen to and believe the accounts of everyone who shares their stories of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse.
NSVRC Statement on R. Kelly charges
Harrisburg, PA – It is vital that we hold those who commit sexual harassment, abuse, and assault accountable, regardless of their power, fame, or wealth. After the extensive documentation of abuses inflicted on Black girls and women by R. Kelly, NSVRC is pleased to learn that he is facing criminal charges for some of this conduct.
This case is a reminder that we must listen to and believe the accounts of Black women and girls, who experience sexual violence at higher rates than other groups of women but are often disbelieved and face systemic barriers rooted in oppression.
It is also important to be mindful of the language used when discussing the footage that in part led to these charges. The appropriate way to refer to this is video evidence of Kelly sexually assaulting a minor. Recognizing that legally, a minor cannot consent to any sexual activity, this footage is not a “sex tape,” nor a “having sex with a minor” but rather evidence of a crime.