Lifetime’s premiere of its three-part series Surviving R. Kelly brought up a lot of things for a lot of people. Disgust, horror, shock…and also an outpouring of survivors of sexual abuse seeking help.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline created and run by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) has fielded a surge of calls on the night the series premiered, a spokesperson revealed to the Daily Beast, receiving 27 percent more calls last Thursday than it did on the same day the week before the series hit the channel.
According to RAINN, its hotline often sees sharp increases when sexual abuse and assault makes the headlines. The Daily Beast reports that when Christine Blasey Ford testified against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the hotline saw a 147 percent increase in calls and when Donald Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape was released in 2016, which showed him bragging about accosting women, there was a 33 percent increase in calls.
The series has brought conversation across social media. It was also acknowledged how hard it can be for those who have survived similar trauma. #MeToo founder Tarana Burke tweeted out tips for those watching (or deciding not to watch) so that they could take care of themselves in light of the horrors that were revealed.
As much as I want folks to see the #SurvivingRKelly documentary. I recognize it might be a lot for those of us who have experience sexual violence. Here are some tips for watching (or not) tonight. #metooMVMT 💕 https://t.co/RYyHf4Ss0U
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) January 3, 2019
The documentary does a deep dive into the multiple accusations levied against Kelly, who is accused of physically and emotionally abusing his victims, as well as repeatedly soliciting relationships with underage girls.
Kelly has repeatedly denied all accusations and has not been charged with any crimes and has even threatened to file a federal lawsuit against Lifetime if they aired the documentary, which the channel ignored, only responding, “Lifetime has always been a brand that champions women’s stories.”