When major cultural catastrophes occur, the Internet can feel like one of the most cathartic places to go. We rely on our digital community to develop our collective memory, debate and react, and even enforce social change.
In the wake of the the revelation of who Robert Kelly really is — as expected, digital communities of color have convened to debate and react to the six-part Lifetime series, Surviving R.Kelly. Since airing, what was once a whisper, a childhood “knowing” between siblings in many families, became a roaring dialogue. The collective secret was out: Black and brown communities have long locked away a history of excusing sexual abuse.
Our women, girls, and boys have been violated by systems of sexual abuse and power. Familial systems. Church systems. Law enforcement systems. Racial systems. Cultural systems. And until now, we’ve all suppressed the resulting community trauma. As our community begins to digest the effects of generational sexual violence together (instead of individually, as we once did behind closed doors), it is critical that we analyze the topic thoughtfully and professionally.
That’s why we’re borrowing from a very successful tactic used in Surviving R. Kelly, and sat down with licensed psychologist, Atlanta-based Dr. Ayanna Abrams, founder of Ascension Behavioral Health and outspoken advocate for the mental wellness of people of color, to breakdown some of the larger questions that came about after watching Surviving R. Kelly.