This article might be poorly timed for we are into the Caribbean Fiesta https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyrcaHoKcS0 with the Carnival Season now upon us
Globally and within the Caribbean region sexual abuse of minors continues relatively speaking to remain an ostrich phenomenon. Surely now though with our global, ‘me too’ movement and the idea of ‘time up’ we are now hopeful of bringing this horrifying social phenomenon to light. A while before the ‘me too’ movement, authors such as Adele Jones in her 2013, Understanding Child Sexual Abuse: Perspectives from the Caribbean noted that increasing numbers of reports of child sexual abuse in the media suggest that either a higher proportion of the cases are being reported or that there are increasing instances of such abuse. This is where we want to dive deep on this media highlight of ‘Surviving R Kelly’ which we can hardly separate from the current “me too” context.
Writing this article, reflections of early practical experience as a therapist comes to mind. Female clients would present with a wide range of issues and the weirdest coincidence was that at least ninety percent of the presenting issues were in some way tied to abuse aftermath. So yes, there is an appreciation of the reality of the over-representation of females as survivors (kudos to those who support empowerment) of abuse. But wait, this experience was side by side of having the experience of asking out loud to more experienced psychologists, of searching the research and ‘Mr. Google’ or rather ‘Ms. Google’ in search of the missing link.
The foothold on our Monstrous Male narratives
The missing link came after learning that many who experience abuse become abusers. In other words, to deliberately be long-winded; if someone experiences emotional abuse, they could also become emotionally abusive to others or abuse others in different ways, such as sexually or physically. If someone experiences sexual abuse, they could also become emotionally abusive or become a sexual predator, sexually abusing others. Now for the million or maybe it has now become a billion dollar questions; “if the abused often becomes the abuser, and there is an over-representation of males as abusers, then are little lads being abused and it going unnoticed?” and “if there is an over-representation of females as survivors of abuse, and much abuse goes unreported, then are many ladies also undetected or unreported abusers?”
R Kelly has a song “Trapped in the Closet” that has at least 19 Chapters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHPDjG-iETE In 2019, are we supporting the trapping in the closet of abuse of little lads? In 2019, is the “me too” movement while highlighting the challenges of little ladies and women in general in our patriarchal society, doing so at the expense of guiltily silencing lads who experience abuse?
Why ask such a question? For those who have watched at least the first two Series of ‘Surviving R Kelly’ it would be discovered that the predator might have at one time been the prey.
We never excuse the excusable
Typical therapy emphasizes one thing to ‘survivors’ “it was not your fault”. So surely even if a male predator was in fact a prey that in no way is an excuse for his behavior. Surely too, the ongoing abuse of little ladies might now have a lot of women being fed up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIciKDEA_5U&list=PLNF1TtPlNbF87k2HshqLCpvEFTSlrspTB As R Kelly put it in his song ‘When A Woman’s Fed Up’; “when a woman’s fed up there ain’t nothing you can do about it”. So women are fed up and speaking out, no matter how many years later. For when it comes to abuse, it is never too late to speak out.
Domestic Violence has been noted as a main contributor of women reaching emergency rooms, with over one million being seen at doctor’s offices https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-reality-corner/201302/behind-the-veil-inside-the-mind-men-abuse
Sexual abuse of girls and women is so prevalent that some mental-health and medical professionals suggest that screening for a history of abuse be a standard part of client intake https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Health-Care-for-Underserved-Women/Adult-Manifestations-of-Childhood-Sexual-Abuse?IsMobileSet=false
This is especially so since the impact of such can negatively influence intimate relationships, parenting, family life and workplace dynamics.
How then do we benefit in 2019, from a simplistic approach to bringing abuse out of the closet, by emphasizing that many men are abusers and many females have been abused? Is this new news? Many therapists and medical professionals alike, and the survivors themselves would surely say “no!”. So what really then is the intent of the “me too” movement and the focus now on ‘Surviving R Kelly’. Have we now reached to the place where we are commercializing sex in the form of the replayed pain of sexual abuse. In other words are we ‘pimping’ out those who have been preyed upon?
If so, Who profits?
Could we not be using the “me too” movement to highlight that ‘something’s wrong?’ and exploring what that might be and how we might address it? Could we not be twenty years later with reflections on ‘Surviving R Kelly’ explore what might be creating ‘male monstrous’ behaviors? https://1in6.org/get-information/myths/
Or are we just about guaranteeing that we seem to be pressing forward, while maintaining our head in the sand? In that way we are already assured that we would have another series in the making, as Whitney Houston and Deborah Cox mentioned in a song, a case of same script, different cast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVh0_DQtwyU
As the saga continues, we all have our opportunity to join in and decide what we would or would not keep on the ‘down low’ which incidentally is the title of another R Kelly song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8icIgtdKkdA
Possibly, even as we enjoy the Caribbean Carnival season we could display what healthy sexual expressions look like while taking in reflections on ‘Surviving R Kelly’