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R Kelly’s Ex-Wife Says Victim Shaming Stopped Women From Speaking Out

By Modupeoluwa Adekanye
28 September 2021   |   1:54 pm
Drea Kelly, R Kelly's ex-wife, has said the culture around victim-shaming stopped women from coming forward sooner about the abuse they experienced at the hands of R Kelly. A New York jury on Monday found R Kelly guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long racketeering and sex trafficking scheme that preyed on women and…

R Kelly’s Ex-Wife Says Victim Shaming Stopped Women From Speaking Out

Drea Kelly, R Kelly’s ex-wife, has said the culture around victim-shaming stopped women from coming forward sooner about the abuse they experienced at the hands of R Kelly.

A New York jury on Monday found R Kelly guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long racketeering and sex trafficking scheme that preyed on women and children.

Kelly, 54, was found guilty on all nine counts after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct.

Drea Kelly, who was married to Kelly for 13 years until 2009, said it was “great that we’ve taken a step forward” but that the most important thing was what happens outside the courtroom.

Speaking with ITV on Good morning Britain, she said:

It is important that women are supported to even feel like they have the strength to come forward and tell their stories. If they’re still victim shaming, victim-blaming, and women being afraid to speak their truth, we can never get to a court system where justice can be served.

She had previously opened up about her marriage with the disgraced singer, she said:

I’ve always said if any of his victims were blonde and blue-eyed it wouldn’t have taken this long. Women of colour tend to be lowest on the totem pole when it comes to subjects of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

She referred to her marriage as “a life of constant fear, walking on eggshells, the intimidation, never knowing which version of him you’re going to get”.

To convict Kelly on the most serious charge of racketeering, jurors had to find him guilty of at least two of 14 “predicate acts” — the crimes elemental to the wider pattern of illegal wrongdoing.

Lurid testimony intended to prove those acts included accusations of rape, druggings, imprisonment, and child pornography.

The jury of five women and seven men found that all but two of the acts had been proven. Kelly was also convicted on all eight charges of violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law.

“We’re disappointed with the verdict,” Kelly’s attorney Deveraux Cannick told journalists outside the courtroom.

He said they would be “considering” an appeal.

Kelly still faces prosecution in three other jurisdictions, including Illinois federal court.