Referring to Kelly as Rob throughout, VanAllen talks of the death threats she was sent by his team once she began to speak out against the now infamous musician. She speaks of experiencing shame, embarrassment, terror, and feeling like she was “selling out” for snitching against a fellow member of the black community.
Throughout the op-ed, VanAllen also talks about watching Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary series with her 16-year-old daughter. “May our daughters never know men like Rob Kelly,” she writes.
Find some of the key excerpts from the feature below.
On the 2008 trial
“I was the main witness to testify against Rob in the infamous child pornography case. I was the only other person on the lurid sex tape — the one involving a 14-year-old girl — that landed the self-proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B in court. I was just 17 when I met Rob years earlier, still a minor myself when he first coaxed me into group sex with him and the girl on the tape. He told me she was 16.”
On being made to “feel like trash”
“Taking the stand was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. I was barraged with questions for three hours, so much so I almost forgot who was on trial. I was belittled and embarrassed. I was dragged for bad things I had done in my past. I was called a “streetwalker.” They wanted me to feel like trash.”
On watching ‘Surviving R. Kelly’
“The documentary was intense from the start. At first, I felt myself watching from a distance. But once I settled back into reality, in my home surrounded by people who love me, I finally allowed myself to feel vindicated. All of the victims were echoing one another. I was no longer alone on a deserted island. Finally, I felt believed.”
On what comes next
“It’s been a long time coming, but here we are. The documentary, the #MeToo and the #MuteRKelly movements and the brave people speaking their truth or organizing for change have led to new indictments against Rob and opened peoples eyes. If convicted, he could face up to 70 years in prison.
More than 10 years after I nervously faced Rob in court, I know one thing: This will not end the way it did before. It cannot.”
R. Kelly is currently out on bail and lawyers have pleaded not guilty on his behalf to the aggravated criminal sexual assault charges.