Woody Allen, R. Kelly…Are They Around Your Child In Real Life?
I don’t hate R. Kelly and I barely know Woody Allen, but in some ways I am overjoyed they exist. Both men and others like them have a legacy of allegations surrounding their inappropriate behavior around minors; specifically underage girls. Both of these men have created a national conversation, where some have justified public support for them. Fact is, many parents would like to believe sexual predators are some sort of extraterrestrial. But, they are in your midst.
For a moment…just imagine if R. Kelly, or even the more concealed Woody Allen, were teachers in your local public school.
Think on that for a moment.
If Woody Allen–the mega star movie maker–was just an affable yet regular teacher that kids gravitated to, he’d likely be ostracized into the mountains of some obscure town for the things he’s been accused of. Remember, Woody, unlike R. Kelly, has been exposed and accused directly by those that he’s accused of molesting. Kells has been more diligent in covering up and hiding his sexual allegations and, if not for a reporter and a video tape, he’d likely be an urban legend to this day.
As a father myself, both men are filed away in a special category I call: “my worst nightmare.” I have a reoccurring waking nightmare that a grown man like R. Kelly decides to seek out my young daughter before she’s ready for what he’s looking to get. In the dream, she comes to me crying, telling me of some vague sexual impropriety imposed on her. And then, in a stoic manner, go to my walk-in closet, push a button and enter to into the other hidden walk-in closet which contains an arsenal that could raze a mid-sized town.
Violent fantasies aside, I think that more people need to get upset about Woody’s and Kelly’s and their alleged penchant for preying underage girls. Mind you, neither has ever been persecuted for anything of the sort. Yet they stand accused repeatedly. In fact, renewed backlash from Woody stems from the fact that his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow, 28, claims he sexually molested her when she was a small child. “It took all of my strength and all of my emotional fortitude to do what I did this week in the hope that it would put the truth out there,” Farrow told People magazine. “I don’t have money or publicists or limos or fancy apartments in Manhattan. All I have is the truth and that is all I put out there.” Both Allen and Kelly have vehemently denied they have been sexual with underage girls.
At the end of the day, this is not about R. Kelly or Woody Allen, but they represent a microcosm of a far overarching issue. In my opinion, its a rather classic “abuse of power” case that we see in schools, churches and in politics. They are just constant, glaring reminders that society values celebrity over girls. The facts about sexual abuse, particularly for African Americans, are even more disturbing:
According to The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010):
Fact: Over 22 million women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.
Fact: 18.3% of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape.
Fact: Of the 18.3% of women who have survived rape or attempted rape, 12.3% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 29.9% were between the ages of 11 and 17.
Fact: One out of every five American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
While some of these numbers are in dispute, you get a snap shot of what’s going on.
Another study suggests that the numbers for African Americans were equally staggering, according to Black Women’s Blueprint. They state that 60% of Black girls have been victim of sexual abuse from Black men before reaching the age of 18.
This is not to demonize anybody.
I’m not sure I believe him, but Kelly chronicled that he was sexually molested as a young boy in his memoir “Soula Coaster: The Diary of Me.” He says that in 1975, at the age of eight, he was hosted as well. Without naming names, he alleges that a woman had him take pictures of her sexual exploits. In another ongoing instance, he charges that another woman 10 years his senior started to sexually abuse him for many years. He says he never told a soul.
If what he says is true, it proves further that “hurt people” hurt people and that its definitely more expansive than a Chi Town over-sexed crooner or a nerdy, creepy film maker.
This is about protecting kids and identifying perps before they strike. I personally know several women (and a guy) that have been sexually abused as kids. And guess what? Their closest family members completely opted to stay cloaked in denial rather than stare at these ugly truths lurking in our midst.
So, while a lot of people are listening to R’s latest release “Black Panties” or watching Woody’s new flick, “Magic in the Moonlight,” I’m more keen on looking for the molesters in real life. You know, the ones without the breadth of accusations and nemeses. Some can sing his songs and watch his movies…but I can’t.
Its just the father in me.