The anticipated sexual assault trial of R. Kelly is looming, but in the meantime, three of his accusers attended Variety’s “Power of Women New York” event and shared their stories. Lisa Van Allen, Asante McGee, and Kitty Jones were all featured in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary series, and when the trio was introduced to the audience, they received a standing ovation.

“My journey started two decades ago,” Van Allen said. “I met Robert at 17. I testified against him with the prosecution in 2008 — and rather than people believing me, they acted as if I was on trial. All that changed with ‘Surviving R. Kelly,” she said. “And I’m very glad to have [that audience] as the most important jury of all.”


E. Jason Wambsgans-Pool/Getty Images

McGee, who published a book about her life with Kelly titled No Longer Trapped In The Closet: The Asante McGee Story, added, “I once was the die-hard fan of R. Kelly — if you said anything negative about him I would beat you up. I dated him for a little over two years — it was two weeks after I moved in with him before I met Robert: R. Kelly is the [performer], Robert is the devil. After I left, I knew I had to do something, so I contacted the parents of the girls who are in the house with him. I will continue this journey — I will not be silenced. My goal is to get one girl home one day at a time.”

Jones shared her story last. “Coming from a background in radio, I was always the voice of my community and I never thought that one day my voice would be silenced and fear would be instilled in me by my abuser. Because I was not underage, I was not [taken as seriously]. But standing for my truth was very important and it’s important that people know that abuse has no limit — you’re not exempt, it could happen to anyone. I want to thank Lifetime for giving us the platform to tell our stories. It’s been very empowering and liberating for us to know that we’re being heard.”

Meanwhile, it’s reported that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is feeling the pressure of the R. Kelly trial after the controversial dismissal of charges against Jussie Smollett. She was involved in the previous Smollett drama and is currently the acting prosecutor in Kelly’s case, and it’s said there is both public and private pressure for her to handle the singer’s case properly.