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'I'm So Grateful': Survivors Of R. Kelly's Abuse React To His Guilty Verdict, Say They Finally Feel Heard
"I am happy to finally close this chapter of my life," said Jerhonda Pace, who testified that R.Kelly sexually abused and beat her when she was underage.
Kelly, 54, was found guilty by a federal jury in Brooklyn on Monday for all charges he faced in his weeks-long trial: from the sexual exploitation of a child to bribery, kidnapping, racketeering and sex trafficking.
Jerhonda Pace, one of the first survivors to testify in the trial for the prosecution, posted on Instagram that she felt her “voice was heard” following the verdict.
“[ G U I L T Y ] Today the jury found R. Kelly guilty,” she wrote. “For years, I was trolled for speaking out about the abuse that I suffered at the hands of that predator. People called me a liar and said I had no proof. Some even said I was speaking out for money.”
Pace elaborated on the courage it takes one to speak up when being abused.
“Speaking out about abuse is not easy, especially when your abuser is high-profile. However, I DID IT. Me speaking out caused a domino effect and so many people came forward. There are still some people that haven't come forward. I'm so grateful to be a voice for those who didn't have the courage,” she stated.
Pace, 28, testified in August that she was 16 years old when she was sexually and physically abused by Kelly. She wept on the stand as she read from a 2010 journal, in which she wrote that she'd been beaten and choked by the musician. She told the jury that she was once stuck in a room covered with mirrors on the walls and ceiling for three days before she was given permission to use a bathroom.
Pace concluded her post by stating, "I am happy to FINALLY close this chapter of my life. No matter what you think of me or how you feel about things; today, I MADE HISTORY. I wanna see you be brave."
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents three of the survivors who testified at Kelly’s trial, said that a woman identified in court as "Sonja" was grateful for the jury's decision, CNN reports.
"I've been hiding from Robert Kelly in fear due to threats made against me and I'm ready to start living my life free from fear and to start the healing process," the survivor said, via Allred. "Thank you for shining a light and helping me to get out from under that rock that I stayed under for far too long."
“Sonja” also urges others who have experienced similar situations to come forward.
"It will be like a weight lifted off of your shoulders,” she stated.