’Surviving R. Kelly’: How to turn the conversation from gossip to better education on abusive relationships

Remember that not every domestic violence relationship includes physical violence

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A six hour docuseries details multiple allegations of sexual, physical and mental abuse by entertainer R. Kelly. He continues to deny all the claims, but there are ways to turn those trending topics about 'Surviving R. Kelly’ into more productive conversations.

Woman after woman appeared with the label “survivor.” Their allegations run the gamut of sexual, physical, and mental abuse.

“It’s a lot," said Wendy Mahoney, Executive Director at the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "And to intake all of that and not have a discussion is hard not to talk about it.”

Mahoney says the first productive step is discussing how watching the docuseries made you feel.

“It’s a great opportunity for education,” she noted. “Educating someone on what is domestic violence and understanding the dynamics of domestic violence. How a person is impacted by it. How you feel trapped in it.”

The examples in the documentary may seem extreme, but Mahoney says we can’t forget that it’s not as isolated as it may seem.

“It’s an opportunity to say, ‘Hey this happens, not just in this particular incident, but so many other places...households, other relationships,’" explained Mahoney. "This is something that just recently that we really began to talk about.”

So what are some warning signs?

“Control, isolation. Isolate from those you love and care about. And the manipulation comes in, and the coercion, and then they’re saying, ‘I’m the only one that loves or cares about you.’ And building you up to believe that this person is your sole source for everything," described Mahoney.

Remember that not every domestic violence relationship includes physical violence.

Maybe you’re on the outside looking in, and don’t know what to do. Mahoney said it’s OK to ask questions.

“You want to make sure that you’re really in tune to what’s going on," she added. "It’s very, very important to follow up on those instincts that you have.”

If you’re being abused, you can call the MS Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-800-898-3234 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

More resources can be found HERE and HERE.

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