Surviving R. Kelly Triggers a Surge in Sexual Abuse Hotline Calls

Illustration for article titled iSurviving R. Kelly/i Triggers a Surge in Sexual Abuse Hotline Calls
Photo: Jordan Strauss (Invision/Associated Press)

Lifetime’s three-part docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly”, served as a sobering exploration into the 30-year labyrinth of abuse and perversion orchestrated by R&B stalwart R. Kelly. And while many of us were haunted by an endless succession of horrifying testimonies that chipped away at a troubadour we once revered, others were understandably triggered and felt compelled to reach out for help.

Aware of the potential for other survivors to seek out resources or assistance in order to address their own trauma, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network tweeted out a link to their hotline prior to the premiere of “Surviving R. Kelly”.


“Watching or reading about “Surviving R. Kelly” and need to talk?” they tweeted. “The National Sexual Assault Hotline is here 24/7—800.656.HOPE and .”

And according to The Daily Beast, the National Sexual Assault Hotline—which connects survivors to emotional support, information, and resources—received an increase of 27 percent more calls thus far—a number with the potential to escalate further with the conclusion of the docuseries Saturday night.

RAINN notes that there’s a direct correlation between an increase in hotline traffic and what’s reported in the news—as Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in September triggered a 147 percent spike and Donald Trump’s notorious Access Hollywood tape prior to his 2016 election served as the catalyst for a 33 percent increase.

#MeToo founder Tarana Burke and civil rights advocacy organization Color of Change were vigilant in not only urging survivors to demonstrate caution while watching the docuseries, but they provided viewing guides, tips, and advice on how best to go about doing so.


While R. Kelly remains at large, our hope is that he is not only brought to justice, but those who have survived abuse are able to attain the support and resources necessary to heal and move forward with their lives.


For those in need of emotional support, information, or resources, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24 hours, 7 days a week at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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And people wonder why I don’t care about celebrities.

Some are cool, some are shit and it’s hard to tell which is which.