*CONTENT NOTICE: Please note that the following article discusses personal experiences of child abuse.*
I met him in the spring. I couldn’t say I was physically attracted to him at first because he wasn’t really my type. But he approached me and I didn’t reject him. I could tell he was older. I hadn’t seen him at my high school. He mentioned that he lived with his older sister but attended a school in another district. I was 14 years old. He told me he was 17 and a senior in high school. I believed him.
Over the next couple of weeks I grew to like him even more. We’d hang out outside. He never took me to secluded places because I told him I wasn’t ready for sex. He said he was fine with it because he was older and was not like the younger boys I knew. I fell for him even more.
One day my mom came home from work and saw us outside. I introduced him. My mom asked me to come inside for a second after giving him a suspicious eye. She told me I wasn’t allowed to see him because he was too old for me. I told her he was 17. She said he wasn’t. She said he was a grown man and forbade me to see him anymore.
I told him and I was devastated. But I had every intention on sneaking around to be with him. My parents had set schedules because they both worked.
One day he kissed me. I decided it was time to go further and he, of course, obliged. We went to his bedroom and made out. We kissed more passionately. He sucked my breasts. I wanted him to stop. I didn’t feel comfortable. I felt like things were going too far. Despite my fears, I told him that. He was eerily calm for a moment and said, “Fine.” Then he said, “No, you know what? You got me hard so you’re going to do something about it.” I told him I wouldn’t. He took his penis out and began to masturbate in front of me. I’d never seen a man masturbate before and I was frightened. I’ll never forget the intensity in his eyes as he screamed at me, “You gone take care of it? Huh? Huh? See what you made me do?”
He started walking towards me. I was sure he was going to rape me. I was completely frozen. But he climaxed and fell back on to the bed. I got the hell out of there.
He lurked around for about a week or so before buying me flowers and profusely apologizing. He seemed so sincere. I forgave him.
He had a 2 year old niece, the child of the sister he lived with. She took to me right away. I felt like it was a sign that we should be together.
He had driven us to the store and gotten us some snacks. When we got back he sat her on his lap and let her pretend to drive. All of a sudden he turned her around and began to suck her nipples. I froze again. He looked at me the whole time he did it. He told me he did it because I didn’t “take care” of his erection. He told me she’d have to take my place because I wasn’t giving it up.
I told him to stop and promised him I’d do it. He stopped.
And I truly considered it because I wanted to protect that little girl. But I knew this wasn’t something that began and ended with me. I knew I had to tell someone.
I couldn’t tell my parents because I’d already been told to not be around him. #FastTailGirls got what they deserved.
The next day, I wrote an anonymous letter to his sister telling her that I had witnessed him molesting her daughter. I didn’t know what else to do.
A couple of days later, I heard him and his sister yelling outside. I looked from my window. It was clear that he was being thrown out of the house. I didn’t see him for a long time.
About a year and a half later, my father told me a guy was at the door and gave a name I didn’t know. He accompanied me to the door since I didn’t know who it was.
I got to the door… it was him! It was one of the most terrifying times in my life. He smiled and said, “I bet you never thought you’d see me again.” That sinister smile is imprinted on my brain.
My father confronted him about using a different name. He said, “Move out the way, old man. This is between me and your daughter.” I was so scared. I thought he’d come back to murder me. He kept one hand in his pocket the whole time. I didn’t know if he had a knife or a gun. I thought he was going to kill my father in front of me and then kill me and the rest of our family. I was sweating, I felt nauseous, my heart was beating so fast I thought I’d faint. I pulled my father back. “Daddy, please don’t do this! PLEASE!”
My father was in protective mode. He refused to back down. Finally, I said, “Daddy, don’t go to jail over him. Please! I need you!” He kept his eye on him but put his arm around me. He told him to leave or he’d call the police. He told me to get the phone but I refused because I wasn’t going to leave my father there with that monster.
My predator had a satisfied look on his face and said, “No need for all that. I’ll see you around, baby.” My father got in his face and said, “You won’t be seeing her again. You got me, muthafucka?” My predator just smiled and walked away.
So when my mom got home we told her about it. Prior to that day my father didn’t see this guy. My mom did but wasn’t there when he arrived. I told them that he was a guy I had rejected and that I was confident that that was the end of it. I never told my mom it was the guy she told me to stay away from.
My parents spoke with a couple of adult neighbors they were close to and asked them to keep an eye on me and make sure the guy never bothered me again.
That was 28 years ago. To this day, I can’t reveal my identity because I’m still afraid of my predator. I have no idea what he looks like today. And I had mostly forgotten about him until my husband and I decided to do some spring cleaning. He pulled out a photo album I hadn’t looked at in decades. There was a photo of me and my predator in the album. When I looked at the photo with 43 year old eyes… I knew this man had to be at least 30. That frightened 14 year old girl came back. I told my husband the story.
We’d been married for almost 4 years and I’d never told him. My father is deceased and went to his grave not knowing. My mother doesn’t know and I’ll never tell her. Prior to speaking with my husband, I didn’t think I was the victim in that story. I thought the only victim was his niece. My husband told me after 30 years that it was ok to be the victim. I was taught to never be the victim. So I tucked it away in the recesses of my mind.
Surviving R. Kelly was triggering for me. I’d like to answer questions I’ve seen many people ask after seeing R. Kelly’s victims speak.
1) Where were your parents?
I had wonderful parents. But I would sneak behind their backs while they were at work. Many teens sneak behind their parents’ backs. Your kids are probably doing it right now.
2) All of these grown women are hypocrites! You know you wanted to date older men when you were young, so why complain about it now?
Because I’m 30 years older now and I know what predatory behavior looks like. I know that a 14 year old girl didn’t stand a chance against a 30 something year old man. As the adult, it was up to him not to approach me. Even if I approached him, he should have declined. A 14 year old doesn’t have the mental capacity of a 30 year old man.
3) None of this would happen to my daughters or female loved ones. I would kill a man trying to put his hands on my love ones! Why didn’t you just tell your father the truth?
I didn’t want my father to know because he absolutely would have killed him. I didn’t want my father in jail while this predator was still loose to terrorize me and my family. He couldn’t protect me from jail. Additionally, men say this shit all the time but do and say things that contribute to rape culture and predatory behavior. I’ve mostly seen men only refer to their female loved ones as possessions to be protected. But you’re unwilling to do anything to stop rape culture in the first place. Your daughters will lie to your face to remain the beautiful, untouched possession you want them to be.
4) Why say something now? Why didn’t you say something then? I’m suspicious because I think you just want to tear another black man down.
Gender privilege is real. And our brothers are flat out ignoring us. We’re in pain and you offer nothing but reasons as to why this is our fault. You always want us to put race and YOU first. And I say something now because I’m hoping this will reach the masses and help someone.
5) Why are you anonymous? If this is true, why didn’t you go to the police? Why haven’t you told your parents the truth 30 years later?
I’m anonymous because I’m still afraid he’ll come and kill me. I saw the look in his eyes. I saw the joy he got from my fear. I didn’t go to the police because I thought this was all my fault for being a #FastTailGirl. I will not let my mom experience the pain of knowing that she did her best to protect me and it didn’t work. I’m a parent now and I know how that feels. I will not go to law enforcement only to be laughed right out of the precinct. I won’t subject myself to social media dragging. I’m not strong enough to do that. I just can’t. Additionally, my story should be told on MY terms.
6) Why are so many women supportive of R. Kelly?
I’m only 3 years older than Aaliyah (one of the victims in the doc who is now deceased). I had a strong attraction to R. Kelly when I was a teenager. That didn’t change until his sex tape with the underaged girl he peed on came out.
As I mentioned before, I didn’t want to be a victim. I was raised to never be one. I didn’t feel I had a voice. The trauma of molestation, rape, sexual assault is feeling helpless. If you can point out what other victims did wrong, you feel more in control. You make yourself feel superior by bragging about how you got over it, knowing deep down you NEVER got over it. Other women coming forward with their stories are a threat to that little piece of delusional peace and safety you created in your mind. So you attack them. You HATE them for making you think about it again. To little black girls everywhere,
I BELIEVE YOU.
Of course, every demographic deals with this. But black women and girls are hit the hardest. That’s why Surviving R. Kelly hits home for so many of us. It’s not just a documentary for us. It’s our lives playing right in front of us.