Surviving R. Kelly ‘Escape Victim’ Finally Speaks Out
She Quit School To Be With Him
Gardner met Kelly in mid-2009, through her friend Jerhonda Pace. Pace met R Kelly during his 2008 child molestation trial. Gardner said that she first became intimate with Kelly when she was seventeen. Kelly was then forty-two. In 2015, Gardner quit school and began living with Kelly. She shared his attention with five other steady girlfriends, in addition to many other women who came and went. The women who lived with Kelly stayed in one of two homes he had rented in the Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek.
He Allegedly Beat Her With An Extension Cord
Gardner claimed Kelly was physically and emotionally abusive. She alleges he gave her a phone that could only be used to call him. Gardner says she was not allowed to contact her parents, family members, or friends. As stated by some women in the Lifetime documentary, she could only wear baggy gym clothes, so other men could not admire their bodies. Gardner was allegedly not permitted to look at or speak to other men. She would also have to ask his permission to eat or go to the bathroom.
“I couldn’t even have a drink without his permission,” Gardner said. “I’m a grown-ass woman, and I’ve gotta ask you if I want a drink? Everything you do, you have to ask him. That’s not living, that’s not normal. I’ve got to ask to use the f***ing bathroom? Are you serious? I’m about to pee on myself if I can’t get in contact with you. What the f**k is this?”
Gardner often disobeyed him, and suffered what she called “consequences.” She alleges Kelly would often beat her and once hit her with an extension cord. Once, she threw a carrot at Kelly, “he [then] grabbed me and he pulled my hair out, and I had, like, patches torn from my hair,” she said. The “consequences” came when Kelly “felt as [if] we disrespected him or disobeyed him. It’s like a parent when your children go against your word.”
She Doesn’t Think He Should Go To Jail
Gardner believes Kelly, who admitted to being abused as a child, should not face jail time. Kelly has been indicted by the state of Illinois on ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, three of them minors. The New Yorker has reported that the Department of Homeland Security is also investigating him for sex trafficking.
“At the end of the day, he’s a victim, too, because he went through some shit, and people—they don’t understand,” Gardner said. “I’m not trying to defend him and what he has done, but, at the end of the day, you don’t understand what he’s been through, as a child. I feel like he should be on house arrest in a studio, because, like I said, his music makes him get through the situations, what’s he going through. Jail time, no. He needs to have a twenty-four-hour therapist at his house.”