I was home sick this weekend and with my mind unable to focus on reading or writing I thought I would watch some mindless television. As I was surfing from channel to channel I paused on Lifetime and tuned into Surviving R. Kelly. After 15 minutes it was too much, perhaps I could watch it later when I was physically and mentally stronger.
Last night, I visited You Tube, and listened to various reviews about the show, including one of my favorites You Tube reviewers, Ashley Miller, who was unusually moved and by the first two parts of the Documentary. She ended her review saying she was unsure she would continue reviewing the series after part 3.
There was outrage from most of the You Tube reviews. I found this interesting considering the decades of rumors, accusations and court trials involving R. Kelly and underage girls. A lot of the outraged was directed towards the managers and people who knew what was going on and did nothing. After watching five reviews I’ve decided not to watch the Documentary. I’m a father, a semi grandfather, with a lot of nephews and nieces. Perhaps the subject matter is too close. For now, I choose not to watch the series.
R.Kelly’s secret is not so secret. He joins the ranks of many powerful men, Leslie Mooves at CBS, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, and Kevin Spaceys, who misdeeds were well known and ignored because they represented millions, sometimes billions of dollars for the industries they worked in.
The sexual abuse is not limited to the rich and powerful. We can find sexual abuse in our own families. I have written about generational abuse, where a family member has abused several generations of family members. Someone you know may have a secret. They have been victim or know someone who has.
The perpetrator is often well known to members of the family. One young women (lets call her Mary) and seven of her cousins were abused by an older cousin, the abuse started when she was ten and ended when she was fourteen.
All eight of the young girls told their mothers of the abuse ,which took place during the holidays. Every year, Mary told her mother she didn’t want to attend the family event and her mother assured her that she would keep an eye on her, only to disappear with her aunts. Of the eight young girls, one cousin and her branch of the family stopped participating in family functions..
If the family secret is revealed, that family member risks being ostracised by the rest of the family. Some say its a family matter and will be managed by the family.
The reality is in many families. The embarrassment and shame to the family outweighs the physical and emotional damage to the victim. The authorities are almost never called. With no real consequences, the perpetrator goes on to abuse other members of the family often for generations. Mary believed her abuser molested other children in the family well into their sixties.
Mary, said she was abused by other family members. Now middle aged, Mary says has no relationship with her mother, aunts and uncles. She believes her mother chose her relationships with her aunts and the family over her. She also believed, if she maintained a relationship with her family. HER children would be at risk .
Mr Kelly turned 52 yesterday, he has lived more than a half century. For many ,the fifties represent a decade of reflection and redemption.
There are millions of people watching the R. Kelly’s Documentary who are sitting in judgement of those who didn’t come forward. There are also many who are watching and have conveniently filed a family secret away?
Is there a secret in your family?