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R. Kelly

Calls to sexual assault hotline surged after the R. Kelly documentary

RAINN says they received 27 per cent more calls than usual following the broadcast of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries

The US Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network hotline (RAINN) received more than 20 per cent of their usual calls during the week that Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary series premiered, Rolling Stone reports.

Scott Berkowitz, president of RAINN, told NBC News: “We often see the types of callers we get will follow the news cycle. With the R. Kelly show, we were seeing more folks who are talking about childhood abuse.”

It’s not uncommon for survivor hotlines to receive more calls following high profile stories in the news, which is why television programmes that deal with these topics often include numbers for hotlines during the credits. Berkowitz added that during the testimony of Dr. Christine Blaisey Ford at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, the hotline saw a 201 per cent increase in calls, many from older women.

Surviving R. Kelly follows the singer’s alleged sexual misconduct over the decades, including the abuse of underage girls. The series claims that R. Kelly groomed teenage girls for sex and kept their movements under his control, including having them followed, through interviews with his ex-wife, former assistant, head of security, back-up singers, ex-girlfriends, and brothers. 

RAINN anticipated the number of calls ahead of the documentary, tweeting: “Watching or reading about ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ and need to talk? The National Sexual Assault Hotline is here 24/7”.

R. Kelly is reportedly under criminal investigation by police in Georgia, according to TMZ, while Chicago Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx encouraged any survivors and witnesses with information about Kelly to contact her office in order to initiate an investigation. He denies the allegations against him.