Regarding this week’s conviction of musician R. Kelly on nine counts of racketeering and trafficking, the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault offers the following comment:
NJCASA joins NAESV and other organizations in commending the survivors of sexual assault who shared their stories and trauma in the R. Kelly case. We know that speaking out about our sexual assault is challenging, and some survivors will grapple with the decision for their entire lives. These survivors have demonstrated courage and vulnerability in their persistent efforts to have their voices heard by systems that too often disregard them. With this, we also acknowledge and respect those who did not seek justice through such systems. We stand in awe of the Black and Brown women leaders in the community who tenaciously sought justice for the survivors who were harmed. Their unconditional love and compassion became a catalyst to the survivors sharing their journey. Justice for these women represents a shift in a culture that often sweeps the mistreatment of Black and Brown women under the rug. This verdict is a milestone validating that Black lives matter— and a reminder that we must continue to center the voices, experiences, and healing of survivors at the margins.
For survivors who have been reading ensuing news coverage and feeling their own trauma resurge, we want to remind you that no one needs to stand alone. Survivors in New Jersey can access free, confidential services via our statewide hotline: 800-601-7200 or http://njcasa.org/find-help.