On Society's Treatment of Survivors: A Not So Sorry Poem By Nina Rose

In light of this weekend’s not-so-new news surrounding recording artist R. Kelly’s unchecked pedophilia in the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” our team’s feeling a little frustrated (perhaps you do, too).

In 2000, recording artist R. Kelly was exposed for abusing multiple women by the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s 2019 and the survivors of his pedophilia still don’t have their due. Over the last two decades, despite the presentation of factual evidence and the email chain whispers, he has been supported and applauded by an industry who claims to separate the “art” from the “artist.” 💡There have been many activists (including members of our team) who have criticized him and the people who have continued to book him for years. There have been many people who have stood up both publicly and privately to hold him accountable, but no reckoning came. There are many Black women whose lives were threatened and demeaned as a result of this willful ignorance and system of protection around one abuser.

We are ultimately not surprised when society (i.e. ourselves) works to preserve abuse of power, instead of challenge it. Today and every day, we have the choice to speak up, and we must do so even when it’s unpopular or risky. We have nothing to be sorry for. In that spirit, we’d like to share a piece of writing by one of our committee members, Nina Rose Bailey.

A note from Nina on the motivation behind this poem: “I wrote this poem after being pissed off by comments on sexual assault and sexual abuse towards young women, especially during this fucked up R. Kelly documentary. Current Mood: SOCIETY IS TRASH.”


My Apologies (An Apology From A Victim)

I want to apologize to my babysitter who was responsible for my care,
You were doing a favor for my parents, so it was only fair.

To that family member that I trusted, it wasn’t your fault.
You were a victim, too, shit was bound to happen by default.

I want to apologize to the two men on the day I skipped school.
Who was I to be acting fast, like I was above following rules.

To my high school “friend” who’s home I went to for comfort.
That was my fault not telling you “no” in a drunken slumber.
Who was I to call you out on your shit, after you took time out your day to bring me ginger ale,
because you had a “feeling” I was sick.

My bad to the boy I dated in high school, who I confided in about my sexuality.
You were a top ranking ball player, I should have known to be fragile with your masculinity

Apologies to those I called friends.
I should have never put you in a position to choose sides: me or them.

I am so sorry to the police officers that had to listen to my story. I get the frustration you
displayed when I lacked a sharp memory.
The crying and forgetfulness took up a lot of your day, I should have just taken my ass home
and not wasted tax dollars that day.

Last, I want to say I am so fucking sorry to society.
Who the fuck do I think I am learning love through trauma and debauchery.

I get it… I’m the problem. I’m the issue. So please accept my apology as I genuinely give you this big “FUCK YOU.”

— writer and activist Nina Rose, 2018.


About the author, Nina Rose Bailey: Originally from Detroit, MI, Nina moved to Austin four years ago from New Jersey after realizing she had a strong dislike for snow. Nina previously received her degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She has been in the field of working with underserved youth and families for in her free time, and started her own program named The R.O.S.E. Project (Recognizing Our Strength and Excellence) while also working at The National Domestic Violence Hotline as an advocate.

Jane Claire HerveyComment