So today in the UK, I (@EmmaTofi on Twitter) managed to have a Lead Letter printed in The Daily Mail newspaper, discussing the abuse in 50 Shades of Grey and EL James’ reaction to abuse survivors who have dared to raise the subject. The Daily Mail is read by 4.3million people in the UK alone, so fingers crossed, we’re taking our awareness campaign to some pretty high numbers! For those who haven’t seen it, this is a full transcript of the letter (bear in mind, they edited it to a degree):
“I’m upset by the incredible success of EL James’ book Fifty Shades of Grey. A growing number of women, including me, see this book as romanticising abuse. This is not because of the BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism) element of the story, but because Christian Grey stalks, manipulates and controls Ana throughout the trilogy. In the third book, he deliberately bruises her chest, wrists and ankles so that she can’t sunbathe, because he doesn’t want anyone to see her body. His behaviour is characteristic of an abuser – as I know all too well, because I’ve been in a relationship like that.
I suffered 18 months of emotional abuse at the hands of my ex. I was controlled, manipulated and suffered horrendously. Like Ana, I was made to believe that my partner’s behaviour was a result of his childhood and that I should feel sympathy for him. Like Ana, I believed that my love could “fix” him – but real life isn’t like fiction and inevitably, my “happy ever after” never came.
The 50 Shades Is Abuse campaign aims to raise awareness of the signs of abuse and how to deal with it. Their website, http://www.50shadesisdomesticabuse.webs.com features links to other campaign sites as well as several blogs on the subject. Almost every person involved in the campaign is a survivor of domestic abuse. Every one of those people has recognised the relationship portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey as an abusive one. Several of us contacted EL James to ask her why she has romanticised abusive behaviour. Her resonse in every instance has been to block us so that we can’t contact her again.
She has, finally, spoken on the subject of whether her book glamorises abuse and has, shockingly, said that to suggest such a thing “is a huge disservice to the women who’ve actually been through abuse.”
WE are the women who’ve been through abuse. We see nothing romantic or sexy about being manipulated by a controlling man who seems obsessed with you.
To have this book romanticise our experiences is bad enough. For it to have become such a huge success is difficult to bear. But to have the author criticise those who have the courage to speak out against the glamorisation of abuse, accusing us of doing a disservice to those who’ve suffered it, is unforgivable.
When women are telling the world that they want their very own Christian Grey, the time has come to debate this subject nationally and help to raise awareness of abuse, not glorify it.”