Survivors of Color: We Stand with You.

January 16, 2019

Earlier this month, Lifetime channel aired a six-part docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, detailing a decades-long history of sexual assault and abuse allegations against R&B singer R. Kelly.  I applaud the survivors and family members who courageously spoke out and said, “We have had enough, and we will not stay silent.”

The docuseries is challenging to watch.  While it is empowering to see survivors speak their truth and advocate for change, it is maddening to know that so many abuse allegations have surfaced from so many victims over such a long period of time, without consequences for those responsible.  It is infuriating to see how people, systems, mass media and society-at-large have protected the abuser, allowing his horrific behavior to continue and more victims to be harmed.  And it is sobering to recognize that one of the reasons that little has been done is because the victims are Black women and girls.

This is a familiar pattern to us at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.  Study after study shows that African-American women are victimized by sexual violence at higher rates than many other populations.  African-American women are also more likely to be victimized multiple times in their lifetimes.  Their stories and experiences are often overlooked, discounted or simply not believed.  This is not OK.  And this must change.

Survivors of color:  we want you to know that your voice matters.  Your experiences matter.  Your safety and healing matters.  You did not deserve what happened to you, but you do deserve to believed and supported.

At Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, we will continue to center the voices of survivors of color as we support all survivors and work toward our vision to eliminate sexual violence.


Sondra Miller
President & CEO
Cleveland Rape Crisis Center


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