Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, produced by dream hampton, was horrifying to witness. For three decades, R. Kelly has been successful in abusing Black women and girls, from intentionally passing on sexually transmitted diseases and isolating them from their families, to acts that amount to human trafficking.

Also horrible are the conversations online that blame Black women and girls for their own abuse under R. Kelly. Despite movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up, that have created space for women to talk about their experiences of sexual violence, even resulting in the takedown of some powerful men, R. Kelly’s prominence has persisted. So too has the myth that, on some level, Black women and girls must have done something to deserve what happened to them.

How else can you possibly explain R. Kelly’s streaming numbers have rising as a result of the docuseries? Why is it so easy to disregard the humanity of Black women and girls to save a lone man’s reputation? 

When it comes to our women and girls, it is not the simple yet complicated nature of just racism, or just sexism or just class. Black women live on the unbelievably sharp point of intersection of all of these systems, creating a unique and incredibly dangerous universe of sexualized violence that is both informed by and distinct from racism and sexism as we know it. is a resource created by Color Of Change that seeks to capture this universe of oppression and abuse that is both pervasive and insidious through mapping how violence against Black women and girls lives and thrives. From legislative policies to policing, media to maternal justice to mental health, is a fight back against the impossible silence that surrounds the stories of our struggle.

To be a Black woman in this country is to know intimately how quickly you are expected to show up for the struggles of others, and to be just as quickly abandoned and disregarded when it comes to others showing up for you. Too often, it is only Black women and girls who show up for Black women and girls. That we struggle as a people is something we know; the history of this country has made being Black one of the hardest American experiences. But if we continue to erase Black women and girls, we are merely continuing the very same tradition and trap that American history has shaped around us: that there are some Black people that don’t matter and never should.

The inescapable history of violence against Black men cannot be used to justify violence against Black women. If we want real change for our people, we must confront the terrible injustice that Black women and girls are expected to endure every day. Black women and girls deserve the world, and a much better one than the one we've got.

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