Russell Simmons Rape Accuser Sil Lai Abrams Says: True Accountability Does Not Entail Fleeing To Bali & Doing Yoga Videos!
“On the Record,” the infamous “Surviving R. Kelly“-esque documentary detailing the stories of Russell Simmons‘ rape accusers was released today, (5/28/20) and one of the accusers – activist/author Sil Lai Abrams – did just that. She details Madame Noire about her journey towards healing, her participation in the doc, and her recent interactions with Russell Simmons.
Sil Lai Abrams revealed that she was allegedly raped by Russell Simmons in 1994, and discussed how “On the Record” will challenge fans’ allegiance to celebrities who abuse their power:
“…With me, obviously I could never talk about who committed the act because I would find myself, very quickly, in the news cycle. Which I did not want…It’s been interesting because very few people have come at me directly on social media, which is a common forum for attack…But I certainly noticed in the comment section, which they say to never read. But whatever, there seemed to be a lot of debate about the veracity of my claims. And that’s where I saw the debate occurring. It’s certainly disappointing but expected…And I think that’s one thing the film does a good job of unpacking. It’s an inevitability. It’s not if you’re going to be questioned.”
Sil Lai alleges that Russell himself has conspired to have her accusation discredited:
“There has been efforts that were engineered—I believe—by Russell to discredit me, using small press- Black press to try and paint me in a light that quite frankly is defamatory. So yes, has Russell done things? Absolutely. But the public at large, I’ve been generally insulated.”
She comments on Oprah stepping down from executive producing “On the Record:”
“It was a shock and a surprise. Now, I can’t imagine what the directors went through, how absolutely terrifying that is. But for me, because I’d already had the rug pulled out from underneath me in telling my story, the first time, that I am of the mindset that until it’s really, really done. It’s not done. I was shocked but I knew that the film would find another home.”
Here’s how the activist would like to see rapists rectify their crimes:
“I would like to see accountability. True accountability that does not entail him absconding to Bali, performing Yoga videos on a daily basis for his continued supporters. What I would like to see is the opportunity for our cases to be litigated within the criminal justice system, as corrupt and racist a system as it is. Russell has the resources to mount a robust defense. He is not the everyday Black man. He is a man that has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct and assault of at least twenty women that we know of. I wish that the statute of limitations of rape would be retroactive and that we could have that day in court. In the absence of that occurring, if a woman that is within the statue chooses to come forward, I absolutely would participate in court proceedings because I know what he’s like. I lived with the aftermath of it and all of the survivors that he’s harmed, we each have had to live in a prison ourselves. And I don’t believe that serial rapists deserve a pass because they are famous or because they can afford to live in countries with non-extradition treaties with the U.S…It’s my hope that people will watch the film with an open mind and realize that celebrity does not equal virtue. And those with the most power are the ones most likely to abuse it. And he is no exception to that.”
Lastly, Sil Lai Abrams talks about how she went about healing from the traumatic incident:
“Well, the first thing I did was I got sober. God willing, one day at a time, come November 27, this year, it will be 26 years without a drink. That summer of the assault was the last summer of drinking for me. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work on an individual and group level. And I’m a huge advocate for mental health awareness. And also the the support groups for survivors, having a safe space where you can talk and realizing you’re not alone.”
“On the Record” is available to stream on HBO Max.
Written by Miata Shanay