Many perpetrators get away with sexual violence. RAINN states that, “Only 5 out of every 1000 perpetrators will end up in prison.” Some perpetrators aren’t held accountable because of who they are. Singer, song writer, and record producer, Robert Kelly, has had accusations against him for 2 decades.” When he was 27, he married Aaliyah, a singer, actress, and model, while she was only 15 years old. His manager and personal assistant, Demetrius Smith, later admitted to having marriage papers forged for them. Their marriage was annulled within months and he paid Aaliyah $100 not to pursue legal actions. Many cases were settled out of court with payment such as this. In June of 2002, he went to trial for accusations of child pornography. Fourteen witnesses identified the minor on the tape, but the absence of her testimony left a gap in the case. Within only a few hours of deliberation, the jury found Robert not guilty. Since the trial, many women are revealing more accusations against Robert. Lifetime released a documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, where some of those women told their stories. Since the release of the documentary, Robert has been placed under legal scrutiny in both Georgia and Illinois. I believe that regardless of his identity, he should have consequences for his actions. His actions have ruined many lives.
Sexual violence can effect a person for their rest of the life. “Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects in a survivor”, according to RAINN. A major reaction to sexual assault is depression, a serious mental health issue. RAINN also includes many other effects such as; post traumatic stress disorder, self harm, substance abuse, and dissociation.
In conclusion, there are many resources that can help someone suffering from sexual violence. Victims can call 800-656-HOPE (4673) for help from a sexual assault service provider near them. Websites such as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center offer a large variety of information relating to sexual violence. There are also movements centered on sexual abuse victims. One of these movements is the Me Too movement, founded in 2006. They are featured in the Surviving R. Kelly documentary and helped raise recognition for victims such as Cyntoia Brown, a victim just recently receiving clemency after killing her abuser while she was 16. Sexual violence is something that no one should have to encounter, all lives matter. Stepping up and helping shows a victim that they aren’t alone. Be the change!