'Surviving R. Kelly' Shows How We Fail Sexual Assault Survivors

'Surviving R. Kelly' Shows How Poorly Society Still Handles Sexual Abuse

Watching the documentary, it was clear that the reason why it was so swept under the rug and why R. Kelly was found not guilty was because these girls were minorities.

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The other night, when I should have been studying for my MCAT's, I was flipping through TV channels in my living room and I stumbled across, "Surviving R. Kelly" on Lifetime. I usually hate Lifetime documentaries but something about this one was so intriguing to me that I couldn't change the channel.

I assume it was because growing up, everyone in the black community had polarized opinions about him. People either loved him or hated him. And hated him for a good reason. Since I was younger, I've heard rumors about R. Kelly's behavior... the sexual assault, the child pornography, and the luring of teenage girls. But this documentary was more than just reiterating what we all already heard... this documentary tried to get to the root of it and pull substantial evidence from recordings, eyewitnesses, and first-hand accounts.

But something that haunted me when I was finished watching the six episodes of the special was that stories like these aren't unique. The sexual assault of young women happens literally EVERY DAY, by family members, friends, and even total strangers. But what interested me, was the sociological impact it had on our community. The fact that the issue like this is so swept under the rug is truly devastating.

What also struck me was that during R. Kelly's trial for child pornography, many fans (whom being black women) stood outside the courthouse and supported him throughout his trial. I mean... like dang, this guy is literally ON TRIAL for CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. A victim in situations like this could be anybody: You, your daughter, your best friend, your niece, etc. and they decided to SUPPORT this perverted creature? It's sickening. It's something that really makes me upset because I feel like sexual abuse just isn't talked about in the black community as much. It's something that's borderline "normal" or if it happens no one will believe you. It's terrible because people should stand by victims and believe them.

Watching the documentary, it was clear that the reason why it was so swept under the rug and why R. Kelly was found not guilty was because these girls were minorities. The jury said that they didn't believe the girls who got up on the stand to testify against R. Kelly about the video, and although it wasn't explicit, it's clear that it's because they were young ethnic females. Do I believe that the process would have been speedier and that he would have been found guilty if his victims were white, young women? Of course. It's just sickening that these minority youths didn't get a chance to see their predator locked up.

I will admit, the reason why he was also found not guilty could have been due to the fact that he was rich, famous, a genius with music, charismatic, etc. But this poses an even bigger issue: Why are the stories of these young girls debased because of a famous person?

Don't their lives, sanities, and physical wellbeings matter more than a #1 hit on Billboard's Top 100?

It truly baffles me how people STILL support this man, even though there's so much evidence implicating him as a child predator. We should be holding this man and ALL THE ABUSERS OUT THERE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AGAINST THESE VICTIMS. This needs to STOP. We need to stop giving people like this the time of day and enabling them to continue this god-awful behavior.

That's why the #MeToo movement is SO IMPORTANT! We need the narratives of these victims in order to end the disgusting cycle of sexual abuse in our society. Situations like these need to be brought to light and taken seriously.

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20 Rules Of A Southern Belle

It is more than just biscuits and grits.
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These unwritten rules separate the people that move to the South and were born and raised in the South. If you were born and raised in a small southern town, you either are a southern belle or hope you get to marry one. Their southern charm is hard to dislike and impossible to be taught.

1. Adults are to be answered with "Yes ma’am" and "Yes sir."

Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, or the person that checks you out at the grocery store, always say yes ma’am.

2. Always write a thank you note.

For any and everything. No gesture is too small.

3. Expect a gentleman to hold the door open and pull out your chair.

Chivalry is not dead; you just need to find the right guy.

4. All tea is sweet.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, tea is made no other way.

5. Don’t be afraid to cook with butter.

I’ve never met a good cook that didn’t giggle a little.

6. “Coke” refers to all sodas.

Here in the south, this means all types of sodas.

7. Pearls go with anything — literally anything

And every southern belle is bound to have at least one good set.

8. "If it’s not moving, monogram it."

9. Pastels are always in fashion.

And they look good on almost everyone.

10. And so is Lilly Pulitzer.

11. Curls, curls and more curls.

The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus.

12. If you are wearing sandals, your toenails should be done.

13. Never ever ever wear white shoes, pants, dresses, or purses after Labor Day or before Easter.

Brides are the only exception. Yes we actually do follow this rule.

14. Never leave the house without lipstick.

A little mascara and lipstick can work miracles.

15. Always wear white when you walk down the aisle.

Weddings are taken very seriously here in the South, and they should be nothing but traditional.

16. Southern weddings should always be big.

The more bridesmaids the better.

17. Saturdays in the fall are reserved for college football.

Whether you spend it tailgating in that college town or watching the big game from your living room. You can guarantee that all southerner’s eyes will be glued to the game.

18. Sunday is for Jesus and resting.

19. Learn how to take compliments curiously.

20. Have class, always.

Cover Image Credit: Daily Mail

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The Real Reasons Women Don't Report Sexual Assault

Content warning: Sexual assault.

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These days in the United States, it is hard to get online and not see a headline of a woman coming forward telling her story of how she was sexually assaulted. You read the article and scroll through the comments underneath. Whether it happened last night, or 20 years ago, you'll probably see questions like these: "what was she wearing?" "was she drunk" "was she walking alone late at night?" If the rape didn't happen the night before, you'll probably see this question as well: "Well what took her so long to report?" Followed by an "I don't believe her, just another whore looking for attention." or.."He probably didn't call her back, so now she's looking for revenge." We can't forget my favorite, though "Was she drunk and just woke up regretting it?" Those are just a few reasons women don't report.

We see headlines about Brock Turner violently raping an unconscious girl, and getting sentenced only SIX MONTHS in jail. He only served three months. Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by three women, was appointed as Supreme Court Justice. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, sexualizes his own daughter and says things like "grab her by the pussy." The leader of the free world speaks about women like that. Are you still questioning why we don't come forward?

If you find a woman willing to open up about her experience with sexual assault, her story will probably sound something like this. First comes the shock, what you just went through is unfathomable. You're not even completely sure if what you think just happened, happened. You blame yourself, you go through every second kicking yourself for not fighting back harder, not yelling, and maybe kicking yourself for not saying anything at all. Denial sets in shortly after. You tell yourself "no, that wasn't rape. That couldn't happen to me."

Eventually, the pain sets in and there are a lot of tears. It sucks, the dreams, the flashbacks, even certain sounds will take you back to that moment. Sometimes it causes panic attacks and severe anxiety. You dissociate, you don't want to socialize, you don't want to go out and have fun, because you're scared you'll break down. When the anger sets in, though, that's a different story. No man stands a chance, especially those who resemble him. You are repulsed by everything men do, and you think it will never go away. Honestly, you pity the next man you fall for, if that even happens because you don't know how you'll be intimate again, both emotionally and physically.

The last thing a sexual assault survivor wants is to see the person who did it again. So that plays a huge part in not reporting, along with the trauma that comes with getting a rape kit and being interrogated by the police, as if you've done something wrong. Once you've been completely violated, having a stranger poke and prod you to make sure you're not pregnant or don't have an STD feels like a violation all over again.

Don't ever ask a woman why she didn't report and do not ever ask why it took so long. You don't know what courage it took to accept it come forward in the first place.

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