Calls to the RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) National Sexual Assault Hotline number (1-800-656-4673) spiked 40% over the weekend following the airing of the second part of Liftime’s R. Kelly docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning. According to a statement from the organization shared with Billboard, the increase in calls was significant compared to the prior four Friday-Saturday periods.
“We are proud to have partnered with Lifetime on this project and are encouraged that our work with the media continues to empower survivors of sexual violence to seek the help that they need to heal,” said Erinn Robinson, RAINN press secretary, in the statement.
“We are so thankful for our partnership with RAINN as part of our Stop Violence Against Women Initiative and to see the jump in calls during the airings of Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning. It’s amazing to know the documentary has encouraged important and necessary conversations to happen and we are extremely proud of our survivors for their courage, who by standing up for themselves, stand for so much more.,” added Brie Miranda Bryant, svp of Unscripted Programing at Lifetime.
The five-part, three-night sequel to the network’s Emmy-nominated series chronicling the decades of allegations of sexual abuse against Kelly aired on Thursday-Saturday last week and featured the RAINN hotline number on-screen with a call-out to sexual assault survivors and those close to them to reach out for help if they need it. The original series aired in Jan. 2019 and featured interviews with women who claimed Kelly had sexually and emotionally abused them, including allegations that the singer had kept some as part of a “sex cult.”
Kelly has been behind bars for more than 10 months as he faces mulitple allegations of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, sex trafficking, solicitation, conspiracy to obstruct justice, production of child pornography, racketeering and sexual misconduct in New York, Chicago and Minnesota; the singer and his legal team have denied the allegations.
The second part of the series included the stories of the survivors who have lodged allegations against Kelly, including reactions and responses to the original doc as well as updates on Kelly’s current legal situation. Shortly after last year’s acclaimed first part, Kelly’s longtime label RCA dropped him from their roster and the singer was arrested in Feb. 2019 and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four women in Illinois. Months later, he was subsequently hit with 18 additional federal sexual abuse-related charges in both New York and Illinois. Kelly has been denied bail, and one of his trials has been set for April 2020.
Part five of the series, “Bring Our Girls Home,” aired Saturday (Jan. 4), focusing primarily on the families of Kelly’s two current girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary. Both families say that it’s been between three and four years since they’ve seen their daughters, which has understandably taken a toll on their emotional health and respective family dynamics.