Other famous men, such as OJ Simpson, Mike Tyson and Louie CK were also supported by many despite their abuse towards women.
Truthfully, I did not know who R. Kelly was until a few months ago. However, I have noticed that whenever a prominent man is accused of abuse towards women and girls, he seems to receive support from the community and his peers.
In an era where we are concerned about police brutality towards communities of color and the public at large, why is there less outrage about other forms of violence?
In the case of R. Kelly, the issue surrounds abuse and an adult man holding captive and marrying underage girls.
It is hardly worth noting that Mr. Kelly has denied all of the allegations and stated that the women who came forward are all lying.
When fans are asked about their loyalty, they have a range of answers from not believing it to saying that we should consider ‘his side of the story.’ Others state that they have been following Mr. Kelly for years and that ‘he isn’t someone who would engage in that kind of behavior.’
Many of these statements are parallel to the excuses that are used to justify views that a police officer used brutal force when it was not necessary. Now that citizens are filming police incident and officers are using body cams, it is much harder to deny what occurred.
It has been reported that R. Kelly married the singer Aliyah when she was a minor and that they tried to cover it up. Other women and their families have said that he would not allow women to leave his home. They also stated that he told them how to explain to their families what they were doing, in an effort to not raise any concerns about their safety.
Women of color have been viewed as hypersexual by the broader culture. Their allegations of abuse have been racialized for decades and their complaints are often viewed with suspicion.
Historically, women have received their power and status from their involvement with and proximity to men. This might help to explain why some women might feel a need to support powerful men, regardless of potential wrongdoings that might have occurred.
Ultimately, supporting violence degrades and brings everyone down and does little to advance women in the world.
Kay Gimmestad, LCSW-C is a business coach and clinician in New York City with 20 years of experience working in the profit and not for profit sectors of Human Resources, Health and Human Services. She has built a reputation for being highly skilled in facilitating behavior change while working with employees, both individually and in groups, on matters relating to performance management, substance abuse, crisis intervention, and stress/wellness.