The story of 2 predators
The last few weeks have been filled with news of these two men. Without knowing their secrets, you might think they had nothing in common. Epstein, white, Kelly, black. Kelly, an artist, Epstein a financial advisor to the very wealthy.
Yet, for both men, wealth meant the opportunity to do as they liked with adolescent girls.
Both kept photo and video evidence, which, considering the age of the kids, is child pornography. Both had the girls recruit other girls into their influence, in exchange for prestige, money, and opportunity. Both were aided by adults who turned a blind eye or outright supported them.
Kelly groomed young black girls. Epstein targeted young white girls. Both paid the girls off when accusations arose.
I’m not surprised that the girls and their families took the money. These powerful men have surprising allies in high places, people who can influence a judge or prosecutor. Navigating our court system is not a good experience for victims, who rarely have the financial resources to put up a real fight, who are often blamed and re-traumatized.
Your teen may or may not be following the news. Maybe check in with them. “Have you heard of R Kelly? Epstein? What do you think?”
These men are predators and they will not stop on their own. We as a society have to intervene and hold them accountable. Without supervision and treatment, they will continue to harm children.
Predators don’t choose any victim.
They choose a child who is already vulnerable.
A child who has already learned they have no say over their body. A girl who already sees herself as a sex object. A kid who has already practiced doing “whatever it takes” to achieve a goal. We must ensure that kids everywhere don’t receive these messages.
Child sexual abuse is rampant.
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard in the last few weeks about child sexual abuse. This is my work, sure, so I’m likely to hear more than most, but dang, it’s popping up everywhere I turn!
- An email warning me that by supporting a book, I may inadvertently be supporting a pedophile (click here for more)
- A call about a 4 year old, sexually abused by the father, who two years later is gaining unsupervised custody of the child
- The mother of my daughter’s friend, whose father sexually abused her step sister
- A father whose uncle raped him and his siblings
- A call with a parent in another country, who says there’s a known predator in her community, cozying up to friends and neighbors
These are stories past and present. The statistics are to be believed. Victims are to be believed.
It’s a disease of our culture. We will turn the tide not so much by rehabilitating the R Kellys and Epsteins of the world, but by raising our children to be aware, to value consent, to defend their body boundaries and their rights. Talk with your teen about age of consent laws, and if the law where you live is too lenient, take action!
Thank you to everyone who is speaking out. Thank you to each parent who teaches their family members and their children that “you have to ask” and that No is a perfectly acceptable answer.
If there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
In support of you,
P.S. Here’s a list of 7 things you can do to prevent child sexual abuse.