Ashanti is opening up about feeling helpless when she found out that her younger sister, Kenashia Douglas, was in an abusive relationship.
In an exclusive clip shared with PEOPLE from Wednesday’s Red Table Talk episode with Ashanti, Kenashia Douglas and mom Tina Douglas, the “Foolish” singer says the nature of her younger sister’s relationship was “gut-wrenching.”
“I don’t know about when it started. Ironically, I was on the phone with you. It was gut-wrenching. It had been something that was going on and you don’t know how to deal with it,” the 42-year-old singer says, referring to sister Kenashia. “We have to respect whatever her decisions are.”
“I’m big sis and I’m like, ‘Well I don’t like him and I don’t think y’all should be together. Both of y’all are toxic.’ I used to say to them all the time, ‘You guys being together is like you’re each drinking bleach. It’s toxic.”
MediaPunch/Shutterstock Ashanti and Kenashia
She concludes, “But with everything that she’s gone through and growing up Ashanti’s little sister — it’s like you want your own stuff. So there’s certain things I felt like she might’ve put up with. And it was just like, how do you deal with this? What do we do now? No one gets a book on how to handle this.”
The full Red Table Talk episode, where Kenashia, 33, speaks out about domestic abuse, will premiere at 12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.
Last month, Ashanti honored her sister on social media in light of domestic violence awareness month.
In the lengthy post, the singer detailed the importance of speaking up — and how proud she felt of her sister for escaping the situation. She also shared a series of photos of her sister bleeding and covered in bruises.
“It is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Words will never be able to express the amount of pain, fury and disgust I feel reliving these moments… but at the same time I am so proud of how strong, courageous, resilient and unbreakable you are,” Ashanti wrote. “My sister is a warrior! I love you deep and infinitely. Thank you for being so brave and bringing awareness to this evil, vile and sad behavior that so many women face every day.”
She continued, “You did it! You won! Some women feel so scared that they have no way out… by sharing your story you bring hope, strength & continue to raise awareness for Domestic Violence. God continues to bless you every day as you grow, prosper… and walk in your purpose…your heart, mind and conscience are clear…you will get back EVERYTHING YOU DESERVE!!!”
Jordan Fisher Tina Douglas, Kenashia Douglas and Ashanti
Douglas has previously opened up about the violent relationship. Though she didn’t name her abuser specifically, she was previously engaged to rapper Slow Bucks. On her 31st birthday, Douglas shared a montage video with clips from her childhood up until the present day and halfway through the clip, she shared photos of her injuries for the first time.
In a post of her own in October, she reflected on her experience: “It was dangerous not only for obvious reasons but also because to the outside world everything seemed fine,” she said in part. “It got to a point where the abuse was regular behavior, and I would fight back, pick up whatever I could to protect myself.”
“I look at these pictures and I hold grace and patience for the woman I was and everything she didn’t know! I love her and thank her for her role in my journey,” she concluded. “I don’t consider myself a victim or a survivor, this is all a part of my story, my life and my journey…”
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.