Despite Jerhonda Pace going public about her sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly, the singer continues to walk free as the #MeToo movement that emerged last fall has taken down some of Hollywood’s biggest heavy-hitters.
The turn out has led Pace to wonder when the movement will lead to Kelly’s downfall.
In August, Pace broke her non-disclosure agreement and came forward with her claims that Kelly “brainwashed” women he had living in his home while controlling their cell phone usage and what they ate.
“I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on,” said Pace, who also alleged she lost her virginity to Kelly as a teenager and had sex with him filmed without her consent.
The allegations were levied six weeks before the bombshell report in The New York Times was published that accused ousted movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.
“I was livid because when their stories came out, they received so much attention. It was just crazy, and I was like, ‘What about R. Kelly’s victims? What about us?’ Nothing happened for us,” Pace told Buzzfeed Tuesday, March 13.
Even still, Pace has the support of #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, who said she chose Pace to accompany her onstage on New Year’s Eve.
“Jerhonda’s story ran a month before Harvey Weinstein, and Time magazine did a roundup of the whole year — all the women who were silence-breakers,” Burke told BuzzFeed. “This was a woman who at considerable risk to herself broke an NDA and bravely spoke about this man who few people will come out and publicly talk about, and she wasn’t included even in that. That speaks volumes to the way women of color are erased from the current narrative of sexual violence in our country.
“This is something that our community doesn’t want to deal with,” Burke added. “But it’s going to take the Black community to fully embrace the idea of R. Kelly being a predator, and to understand that even if the girls are now 21 or 18, it’s still predatory behavior and that he shouldn’t be celebrated in our community.”
“It’s the world we’re living in today,” Pace said. “Blacks are always Black, and we’re always at the bottom of the barrel. They are just as important as white girls, and that’s why I fight so hard for my babies,” she adds of her daughters.
And aside from recognizance from the Black community of Kelly’s ways, Pace still doesn’t think enough has been done on the investigation side.
“I didn’t feel that [any of the investigators] were passionate about it and that they were going to pursue it the way that it needed to be pursued,” she continued. “I was told that they want more witnesses to corroborate my story, which makes no sense: I’m the victim; I have the proof: He was paying me, I have the contract he signed, I gave them the DNA T-shirt, I gave them everything proving I was there, and they were like, ‘We need more people to say that they saw you [with Kelly].’”
An FBI spokesperson didn’t confirm or deny a probe was taking place and investigators from Olympia Fields, Ill., who Pace provided evidence to, didn’t respond to BuzzFeed for comment.
Kelly has previously denied the allegations against him, saying through a rep that he “unequivocally denies such accusations.”