The Predator Among Us
Written by Stephanie Renee on April 17, 2016
Thankfully, I do not know the pain of childhood sexual abuse. Violation by a trusted elder before puberty, devoid of discernment. Terrified, confused, in physical and emotional pain. That is not my personal story, but I know far too many people…have a frightening number of friends and ex-lovers who were taken advantage of in that way. Most have had professional counseling and at least one loving parent to help them process and heal, privately. A few brave souls have taken their pain and transformed it into artistic works that amplify the healing to those who may not have the benefit of a loving circle to engulf them. They speak for those who suffer in silence. And, in these days of pervasive social media, their works also help to counter the persistent narrative that sexual abuse victims–especially at the hands of the famous–are opportunistic liars and teases.
To this day, I have not had any desire to view the R Kelly sex tape, despite numerous offers and opportunities. The vulgar nature of bearing witness to such an act, combined with the often-irate commentary about the girl being violated, sickens me to no end. This is not anything comparable to downloading porn, created with a profit-making agenda by consenting adults. It is perverse voyeurism, made even more morally sickening by the unending support of R Kelly’s pedophilia exonerated by casting blame on the girl.
“She knew what she was doing.”
“She ain’t no baby.”
“What type of girl goes after a grown singer and lets him do that to her?”
If the comments and example ended with R Kelly, perhaps we could properly address this as the village that is supposed to raise the child. But our denial and unwarranted forgiveness run deep, for him…for them. You hear different shades of the same victim blaming in the endless conversations we’ve had about other famous Black folks like Cee Lo Green, Chris Brown, Bill Cosby and Afrika Bambaataa. Famous friends run to their defense, or go out of their way to deflect the conversation away the perpetrators and justify some sort of moral analysis of the victims’ lives. Guilty, until proven innocent.
Thankfully, I do not know the pain of childhood sexual abuse. I was a teen the first time, and wrote the details out in a long letter to begin processing what had been done to me. I was an adult the next time I was violated, and had the presence of mind to explain to my doctor boyfriend that his persistence beyond my numerous declarations of “No” could land him in jail and strip him of his license if I decided to press charges. I’ve never been to counseling, but I’ve had the blessing of excellent friends, our poetry and knowing hugs to help me get through. I’ve raised my voice to declare and forgive, but too many others have not had that luxury.
I will not be denied my truth. And I sure as hell will not be silent when celebrities get reckless with their accusations about a child’s or a predator’s sexual motivations. Whether I fire up my microphone, hit send on posting a blog, or load a weapon with ammunition depends on how closely this hits home.
We can’t afford any more innocent sacrifices. Whether through our indifference or our insensitive, short-sighted blame game, the gods will not be pleased.