'Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning' Gives Victim-Blamers a Platform

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It’s been a year since Lifetime aired its first installment of Surviving R. Kelly where R. Kelly’s victims and former members of his inner circle bravely came forward to expose Kelly for what he is: a monster.

Shortly after its debut, Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. And as of July 2019, he faces 18 federal indictments, including ones for kidnapping, child pornography, and forced labor, all of which Kelly vehemently denies.

In a follow-up, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning features both familiar faces as well as a few new interviewees, including two former associates of Kelly’s that spent the majority of the first episode victim-blaming Kelly’s accusers. Kelly’s former manager and personal Lindsey Perryman-Dunn said,

“The women I saw in the docuseries were the type of women that Robert would have picked.”

She continued,

“And you know what they’re upset about? That they didn’t get the limelight until they were on Lifetime television.”

Interesting of her to say that considering that most, if not all, of the “limelight” that Kelly’s victims have garnered since publicly speaking their truths has resulted in harassment and threats.

Speaking to CBS News, Faith Rogers, one of Kelly’s accusers, said that things for her have gotten worse since coming forward.

“If anything, it’s kind of worse since he’s in jail. It’s a whole bunch of angry fans, so it really hasn’t gotten any better. Knowing he’s in jail, that’s just knowing he’s not hurting anybody else, but people who he hurt are still being affected.”

It’s speculated that Lindsey and her twin sister Jen Emrich are the masterminds behind the now-deleted Facebook page “Surviving Lies,” which surfaced after the first episode of the part one installment. The page tried hard to discredit and harass the accusers that appeared on the show.

But while the sisters deny having anything to do with the page, Emrich made sure to let the audience know that she uses social media to express her support for Kelly.

“When the docuseries aired, nobody wanted to listen to me unless I said something bad about R. Kelly, which was the popular thing to do. What worked, for me, was to go on social media and use the hashtags ‘R. Kelly’ and ‘Unmute R. Kelly.’ and ‘R. Kellz.’ It started a whole movement. It worked.”

To make things worse, Perryman claimed that “real” sexual abuse victims would go to the police when they are attacked.

“I feel that a victim of any crime needs to call 911. If you have been raped or victimized, you need to go to the emergency room immediately. You need to seek medical help. You need to see a psychologist. You need get an attorney involved. You need to sue. You need to take action. I believe in the American justice system. I do not believe in the justice system which is going on right now, which is just the public justice system.”

She continued,

“Right now, the public is prosecuting R. Kelly, not the police. Sitting here, today, with the new accusations – I don’t believe them. And I don’t believe I was involved in anything that had to do with pedophilia.”

Unfortunately, convicting sexual predators is not that simple. Many women do not come forward because the system has proven time and time again that it’s unreliable to sexual assault victims. Out of the 230 sexual assaults reported to police, only four rapists will be incarcerated for their crimes.

It’s unclear as to what caused the producers of Surviving R. Kelly to interview those who support him. And although it’s understandable that the show would want to show “both sides” to the story, there should never be room for victim-blaming.

Parts two and three of Surviving R. Kelly: The Reckoning air on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.


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Alysia Stevenson
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she's not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.