Lizzette Martinez (centre) said Kelly had "destroyed so many people's lives" [Source: BBC]
Some of the women who were abused by singer R. Kelly described how he had “destroyed so many people’s lives”.
They addressed him in court before he was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday.
“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” one survivor told the disgraced star in the New York hearing. “Do you remember that?”
Another sobbed as she told the court that Kelly victimised her after she attended one of his concerts at the age of 17.
“I was afraid, naïve and didn’t know to handle the situation,” she said, explaining why she didn’t speak up at the time. “Silence is a very lonely place.”
The singer, who was previously best known for chart-topping songs like Ignition (Remix) and I Believe I Can Fly, heard seven impact statements from his victims in court shortly before he was jailed for racketeering and sex trafficking crimes.
Some women used their real names, while others were only known by their first name or a pseudonym, and several became emotional as they spoke
Lizzette Martinez described how Kelly had promised to be a mentor when she was pursuing a singing career at 17.
“I am now 45, a mother, and I struggle with mental health,” she told the court. “Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives.”
Speaking after the sentencing, she told the BBC: “I was a very young girl, under-age girl, who had a lot of dreams and he cut my dreams short and abused me mentally, physically, emotionally, any way that you can imagine.
“I wanted to just live a normal life and try to heal, but it could take me a lifetime to heal. Just because he’s sentenced doesn’t mean it goes away for us.”
Prior to the sentencing, a lawyer for Kelly blamed the singer’s “hypersexual” behaviour on being repeatedly sexually abused himself as a child.
But Ms Martinez said: “There are so many people that are abused in this world and we don’t turn around and abuse others. He had all the resources. We don’t have resources like that. He could have gotten help. So many things he could have done to stop himself. It’s the power of celebrity.”
Another survivor, Stephanie, said Kelly had left a “permanent stain” on her life. “I felt special, because someone who was special to the world was interested in me,” she said.
“I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.”