BALTIMORE — Amanda Rodriguez with Turnaround Inc, which is a rape crisis center serving Baltimore City and Baltimore County, said the conviction of R&B singer R. Kelly is "huge" for all sexual assault survivors.
“Survivors recognize that that means if they speak up their voices may also get respected and heard and they will be believed,” she said.
On Monday, Kelly was found guilty on all charges of sex trafficking and racketeering. He faces up to life in prison.
Rodriquez said she doesn’t believe this verdict would’ve happened if it wasn’t for the #MeToo movement.
She said the movement has empowered more victims to come forward and share their stories.
“The power together is really the highlight of this. The highlight of the #Metoo movement,” she said. “I think that it absolutely did impact the way this came out today and I think we’ll continue to see the aftermath of that.”
Unlike many of the high-profile cases involving powerful men in Hollywood, the trial of R. Kelly predominantly involved women of color.
Rodriguez said she hopes this case will amplify their voices as well.
“I think for a long this movement even unintentionally was focused on white voices,” she said. “So, I’m hoping that this especially in places like Baltimore where we know that it's happening to our Black community members that we’re able to step forward now again, we believe you, we hear you and we’re ready to take a step to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
She also said this case could lead to more victims willing to come forward.
If you are in a crisis or in need of support, Turnaround Inc has a 24-hour hotline to help. The number is 443-279-0379. For more information about the organization, you can click this link here.