The Essence of Success Network


    R. Kelly & alleged victim release statements after “cult” allegations



    Both R. Kelly and one of his alleged victims made statements denying allegations that Kelly is holding several women against their will in an “abusive cult.” The allegations come from a disturbing report published Monday (7/17) on Buzzfeed from veteran music reporter/critic, Jim DeRogatis. In the report, DeRogatis spoke with families of alleged victims and former members of Kelly’s “inner circle.”

    Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle — Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee — provided details supporting the parents’ worst fears. They said six women live in properties rented by Kelly in Chicago and the Atlanta suburbs, and he controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.

    The former members of Kelly’s inner circle provide chilling details about their experiences with life among Kelly’s “babies,” as they say he likes to call the women who live with him, including his control over every aspect of their lives, from what they wore to who they contacted, and even when they used the bathroom.

    Mack, Jones, and McGee claim that women who live with Kelly, who he calls his “babies,” are required to call him “Daddy” and must ask his permission to leave the Chicago recording studio or their assigned rooms in the “guest house” Kelly rents near his own rented mansion in suburban Atlanta. A black SUV with a burly driver behind the wheel is almost always parked outside both locations. Kelly confiscates the women’s cell phones, they said, so they cannot contact their friends and family; he gives them new phones that they are only allowed to use to contact him or others with his permission. Kelly films his sexual activities, McGee and Jones said, and shows the videos to men in his circle.

    Mack, the star’s former personal assistant, said Kelly almost always tells the women to dress in jogging suits because “he doesn’t want their figures to be exposed; he doesn’t want them to look appealing.” She said when other men are in the same room, Kelly “would make the girls turn around and face the wall in their jogging suits because he doesn’t want them to be looked at by anyone else.”

    R Kelly made a statement yesterday in response to these allegations via his attorney Linda Mensch. It reads:

    Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.

    Jocelyn Savage, one of the women whose parents DeRogatis’ report speaks with, released a video via TMZ denying that she’s being held against her will.

    I’m 21, I’m about to be 22 in a few days and I just mainly want to say that I am in a happy place with my life and I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that. It just came to a point where it definitely has got out of hand…I’m totally fine. I’m happy where I’m at and everything is OK with me.

    She wouldn’t answer questions about where she was living and if she had roommates, however.

    These allegations are the latest in a long history of stories circulating around Kelly. Spinpublished a timeline of his “alleged sexual misconduct,” beginning with his marriage to to the then-15 year old Aaliyah in 1994, and going on to detail various out of court settlements and the infamous “pee tape” in 2002. In 2013, Kelly headlined Pitchfork Festival, and later that year The Village Voice published the full, “stomach churning” accusations against Kelly. In 2015, Kelly stormed out of an interview with Huffington Post after being asked how sexual abuse allegations have affected sales of his latest album, The Buffet.

    Jim DeRogatis has reported on allegations against Kelly for 16 years, and spoke with Slateafter the Buzzfeed report was published. In that interview, he speaks about the challenges of getting a story like this one published, and goes back to the 2008 trial when Kelly was acquitted:

    …it’s very important to remember that he was acquitted by a jury of his peers but the trial never introduced any of the other evidence—the illegal marriage, the civil lawsuits by young women who said he abused his position and fame and influence to bully them into illegal sexual relationships. The one lawsuit that is mentioned in the story today—that girl slit her wrist after her relationship with Kelly ended. There have been more than a dozen settlements before a suit was ever formally filed. Susan Loggans, the attorney, would just go to Kelly and say, “Here are the accusations from my client,” and he would pay them. This is a pattern of a quarter-century of behavior, in full view of the music industry and entertainment journalism.



    This Is Why Everyone’s Talking About California’s “Revenge Porn” Law Right Now

    Yesterday, Rob Kardashian got himself removed from Instagram after going on an explicit rant which included posting a photo (multiple times) of a nude woman he claimed was his ex-girlfriend, Blac Chyna. While there is no confirmation on whether the photo was real or Photoshopped, or who it depicted, it did bring up conversations surrounding the pair’s home state of California and its “revenge porn” law.

    We don’t know yet if Kardashian broke any law. That said, it’s definitely worthwhile to fully understand why people would assume that posting explicit photos of a person might get someone in trouble.

    Both California and New York State have laws known as “revenge porn” laws. Cali’s Bill 255 was enacted into law in 2013, and states (in simple terms), that if a person shares an intimate image of you publicly without your express consent and with the intent to cause emotional harm, they can be convicted of this crime. The biggest revenge porn case to date came in 2015, when the operator of a revenge porn website was convicted of multiple felonies and had to pay over $25,000 in damages.

    While, again, we have no proof that Kardashian broke this law, social media sites like Instagram have it in their best interest to act fast whenever the possibility of a violation arises on their platform.

    In response to the event, an Instagram spokesperson said, “At Instagram we value maintaining a safe and supportive space for our community and we work to remove reported content that violates our guidelines.”

    As for Kardashian and Blac Chyna, no one can make assumptions as to what will happen with this latest feud, although Chyna’s lawyer has released a statement of intent to protect Chyna’s rights (whatever that may mean).

    If you feel that you need help dealing with an abusive situation, you can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

    Thank you!


    10 Percent of Female Undergrads at University of Texas Say They Were Raped


    ercent of female undergraduates in the University of Texas system's academic institutions say they have been raped since enrolling, according to a system-wide survey on sexual assault and misconduct released Friday by the University of Texas.

    The university system calls the Cultivating Learning and Safe Environments report, conducted by University of Texas Austin's Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, "the most in-depth survey of sexual assault and misconduct ever undertaken by an institution or system of higher education in the U.S." More than 28,000 students "voluntarily and confidentially" answered questions surrounding their experiences with on- and off-campus sexual assault since enrolling, their views on how the university handles these issues, and how the experiences affected them. The only campus that didn't participate was the University of Texas Health Northeast, which didn't survey its students because there are too few enrolled to "protect their anonymity," according to the study's press release.

    “If we want to understand and continuously improve our campus culture in order to facilitate student success, then we have to be open and honest about our students’ experiences beyond the classroom, no matter how uncomfortable it is,” University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven said in the survey's press release.

    The survey is part of a $1.7-million study led by McRaven. It's hoped that the responses provide a deeper, more nuanced understanding of sexual assault and misconduct on campus—and help the university take effective action against those issues. By polling multiple campuses, for example, some stark findings came to light. For instance, at the system's eight academic institutions, 10 percent of female undergraduate students reported being raped; at the five health institutions in the U.T. system, it was 4 percent.

    Of course, it's important to remember that with survey-based studies, the sampling of respondents isn't representative of the UT system or of the country as a whole: it's potentially made up disproportionally of people who might be more interested than the average student and therefore more likely to want to participate. As a point of comparison, the approximately 28,000 respondents make up about 12.65 percent of a total U.T. student population of around 221,300. Surveys also rely on self-reported information, which means researchers risk their data being impacted in either direction by people who aren't being entirely honest.


    That being said, here are some key findings:

    • 10 percent of female undergrads and 4 percent of male undergrads enrolled in the system's academic institutions reported being raped. Numbers were lower for students enrolled at health institutions (4 percent and 2 percent, respectively).
    • 15 percent of female undergraduate students at U.T. Austin say that they've been raped since enrolling.
    • At U.T. Austin, 68 percent of students who said they experienced "interpersonal violence" (which includes rape and harassment) didn't tell anyone about the incident. Only 6 percent told someone at the university.
    • Findings appeared to confirm other common findings of sexual assault studies: in the majority of cases of "unwanted sexual contact" (unwanted touching, attempted rape, and rape), alcohol and drugs were in play; and the majority of the time, the attacker was someone the student knew.
    • The vast majority of incidents happened off campus.

    “The findings of this study shine a brighter light on sexual assault and misconduct that affects U.T. students and give us a deeper understanding of how to address these problems," McRaven said.

    The University of Texas system isn't an outlier with these numbers, according to the press release, which said that "the prevalence rates of various types of victimization are comparable to rates at other institutions nationwide."

    Hopefully the survey will serve as an example to other universities and provide tools for institutions elsewhere to combat these issues. It certainly sounds like U.T. is happy to share what they're learning and implementing: “The goal is to arm institutions with information so they can continue to improve the safety and well-being of students and remove barriers that stand in the way of educational goals," director Noël Busch-Armendariz, Ph.D. of the U.T. Austin Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault said.


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