RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Organizations around Richmond speak out after the news of charges filed against R. Kelly are released.
Representatives from SCAN, Stop Child Abuse Now, said anytime a story like this comes out it can give hope for victims who are too afraid to talk.
“If something has happened it’s OK to talk about it and it’s OK to tell someone,” Child Advocacy Center Coordinator Stephanie Davis said.
Kelly is accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse with atleast four victims and three of whom were under the age 17 at the time. Davis said the 10-count indictment against the singer-wongwriter will send a positive message to victims of sexual and domestic abuse.
“I think the important thing is that this happens everywhere. It happens to any child no matter the race or ethnicity,” Davis said. “Often times they do groom and manipulate situations to get what they want and a lot of times it’s power."
Davis and her team provide safe environments for children to share what happened to them, and she has a warning for parents.
“Have the knowledge to monitor who they are with and who they are interacting with online and in school. Just know who your kids are interacting with,” Davis said. “Monitoring your kids online use whether it was a phone tablet, Xbox, PlayStation anything that has an online component."
The organization works with social services, law enforcement and other agencies to make sure both the child and family are protected. Davis said if a child comes to you for help, as the adult, don’t over react.
“Sometimes kids tell shocking things so try to make sure your reactions are appropriate and that it doesn’t scare the child away,” Davis said.
As many wait for R Kelly to have his day in court, Davis encourages those wanting to speak their truth.
“Anytime a child can come forward is not only great for them but it gives hope to the next child who has experienced something similar,” Davis said.
The singer and his lawyers have consistently denied any wrongdoing in response to allegations against him over the years.