Back in July, Buzzfeed News reported that R. Kelly was the leader of a sex cult, manipulating young women into relationships with him, and then controlling every aspect of their lives. We have since seen R. Kelly make a half-assed denial of these claims, more than one victim come forward, and a Georgia official call for a full-scale investigation against Kelly.
R. Kelly has a sordid history with young women that dates back to 1994, when he married a then 15-year-old Aaliyah. And now, a few lawsuits, a child pornography trial, and two decades later, we have heard even more tales of abuse from the singer.
Most recently, Kitti Jones, who dated Kelly from 2011 to 2013, has come forward to speak on her abusive relationship. In an interview with RollingStone, Jones tells her story from Kelly "training" her on how to please him sexually to living with "the girls he raised," from physical abuse to asking permission for something as simple as using the bathroom. Kelly even used starvation as a punishment for not following his many rules. It's disturbing (to say the least) but what's more disturbing is that we've heard it all before from other women who have been enticed into Kelly's inner circle. And now the Internet is asking one question: What are we going to do about it?
With women and men in Hollywood speaking out about abuse in the industry, most recently with Harvey Weinstein and his sexual harassment of young actresses, it may feel like the world is one big dumpster fire that we have to put out. But there is some hope that it can change. If we keep bringing attention to the issue, if we keep calling out men who are sexually abusing women, we can change the cycle.