Title: King, Superstar, Genius, Predator

Title: King, Superstar, Genius, Predator by Astrid Ferguson

This article should be read carefully and in it’s entirety. This article is full of trigger warnings and should not be used as a legal substitute. Therefore, please seek legal advise from an actual lawyer if you have experienced any of the subject matters discussed in this article.

Title: King, Superstar, Genius, Predator by Astrid Ferguson

Title: King, Superstar, Genius, Predator by Astrid Ferguson

We have all heard the stories and rumors revolving R.Kelly’s sexual abuse conduct for years. Almost 20 years now to be exact. We have made a mockery of it “Pee on You” by Dave Chapelle. We have shaken our heads about it. We’ve had debates about it. We have completely disregarded it and remained silent about it. I will be the first to admit the first time I heard about it I was a teenager. I didn’t think much of it because it wasn’t something he was legally accused of doing. I would still listen to his songs. Hell, I remember singing “I believe I can fly” at my eighth grade graduation. I still have his 12 play cd in my car. We all remember the long behind living in the closet songs. You might be asking yourself why am I bringing all of this up? Well because everything that is happening doesn’t take away from all the other titles he obtains, which is part of the problem.

It makes me cringe when we as humans make it seem like you can’t be all four of the titles in this article, successfully. You can still have amazing talent and be a child abuser. Just like you can be lyrical genius and be an alcoholic, drug user etc. Titles is what we get hung up on. It shouldn’t matter if someone is an unemployed homeless or a CEO of a fortune 500 company. What should matter, is that acts of harm committed against someone no matter the reason or excuse should not be tolerated and justice should be served.

Now let’s discuss the justice part of this equation. It has boggled my mind that for 20 years these cases have been in and out of the court system and R. Kelly has been acquitted every time. Like I kept asking the question, “what constitutes statutory rape and why are some people ok with certain situations versus others?” It was something that kept swirling in my head. Like we as a society have been conditioned and programmed to accept certain things around this topic to be “ok.” A younger girl saying she wants a real man as an excuse to date a much older gentlemen. Some families will justify it as her being mature. The other misconception or caveat we accept is when younger men date much older women. We consider that as a right of passage or a boy learning to be a man, when it is indeed statutory rape.  So considering all these factors, I decided to do some digging.

The following is what I found thus far. According to the Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog:

“At the moment, the age of consent in this state is 17 years of age. At the federal level, the age of consent is defined as that minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally old enough to agree to participate in a sexual activity.”

Now if you are 15 years of age or younger and your predator is 18 or older you can proceed with statutory rape filings. At 16 years of age you can file for corruption of minors. At least that is the way it is written in both Chicago and PA laws. You can seek a lawyer for more detailed information on this or do a quick google search. I really hope you the reader never have to deal with this but the fact is that this is a wide-spread issue that happens all to common, so it is imperative to inform yourself both legally and mentally to deal with these situations.

In the docu-series of “Surviving R. Kelly” it is said most of the women ranged from 17-19 years of age. If that is the age range then under the court of law in Chicago it would answer the question of why he was acquitted every time. However, these women’s stories are horrific and at the same time they trusted and loved R. Kelly. You may be asking yourself “how can anyone love a monster or predator?” Well, just like all the titles I named in this article, love and predator can go on the same list as well. Now let me tell you a little story along with a few facts.

Most predators will be someone the victim knows, someone they trust, someone close to them. Are you surprised? That is how love is built, on trust isn’t it? First, they make a person trust and believe in them so the victims are disarmed and more willing to go along with the predator. Children often do not know they have been a victim because of this very factor, “manipulation.” We as parents spend so much time telling our children about stranger danger when in actuality, that is only about 10% of the predatory rape cases. According to the National Sexual  Violence Resource Center:

“Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.

Only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the authorities”

So what does this all mean? Predators build a system of trust between the victims families, communities, and the victims themselves. So it makes it even harder for others to believe the victims when they come forth. Not that it justifies any of the crimes, but understand that there is a common thread/pathology going on here. Children interpret things differently from adults. I remember as a child I didn’t go by what my mom or dad said, I went by their actions, my own cause and effect reasoning.

I was victimized as a child. I lived with my predator. My predator was my step-father. He beat my mother often and he raped my mother. In my mind, I said to myself if my mother doesn’t protect me or reports her own abuse, who would want to hear about mine? Why would I say anything when all they are going to do is take me away from my siblings? My dad can’t fight off my predator he was too old. I felt like I had an obligation to protect my siblings because my mother was too busy being a victim herself. So I endured in silence and just prayed about it. The sad part is how much she loved him despite all the damage he caused her. That is what predators make victims believe. They make them believe these inflictions of pain are all an act of love they are bestowing on their victims. After it happens so common within families it becomes a justified “cultural thing.” So let’s discuss the cultural underlining on women being objectified and overly sexualized at a young age.

I ran across this article that talked about young women being married off at a young age, Third of Girls in 42 Countries Forced Into Child Marriages. The article is a little dated but it discusses how women under the age of 18 can be beaten half to death if they object getting married to an elderly man. They are dragged by their families, forced into being raped to accept the arranged marriage. Most child marriages take place in South Asia, India and rural sub-Saharan Africa. I can’t even imagine living under those conditions. I mean the mental impact it would have on me as a woman knowing I am married to my predator and it was never going to change unless… let’s just say something drastic happened.

I am hoping for a world wide movement to bring these situations to a halt. Like women should have the right to call their bodies their own. No one should be subjected to these sorts of treatments. It really saddens me that this is still a debate. I hope that this is a beginning of a movement to bring an end to these abnormal behaviors we have accepted as “normal” since forever it seems. I am glad more women are coming forth to speak up about their stories. I know it took me a long time to tell my own story and I did it in written form. I still struggle to do performances about The Serpent’s Rattle because of this very reason. No one prepares you for the residual effects of rape. I just hope that by me sharing my story and this article someone out there will finally feel like they have permission to share their own. 

Oh an one more thing, can we give a round of applause to the people, the black women, who told their stories on camera? Lord knows I would have been nothing but snot and a soupy mess sharing what they shared. So let’s give these people the respect they deserve and just listen to their stories without judgement. I think we are capable of that and much more. I also apologize if this article offended or triggered anyone in any way. It was only intended to help spread awareness on these common abnormalities that affect our humanity. So please share and leave a comment below.