Abuse Is A Painful Fact, Not 50 shades of Fiction

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.”

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8 thoughts on “Abuse Is A Painful Fact, Not 50 shades of Fiction

  1. Brava! I’m proud of you for this! Do you have an online link? I’d love to post both that and this page to some people I know.

    • mrsmanics says:

      There’s not an online link for the letter in its actual newspaper state, but please do feel free to share this page with anyone you’d like. we’d appreciate it! 🙂

  2. mizlauren says:

    Came across this via Jenny Trout’s blog and so glad I found it. I have many female coworkers, many who are under 18, who believe that these books are awesome and depict normal relationships. I can’t tell you how many abuse and plagiarism rants I’ve gone on (which admittedly might not be the best way to approach this with fans of the series) The thought of these young women finding the 50Shades nonsense to be acceptable behavior just about drives me to drinking. Good on you for getting this opinion letter published and spreading the word!

  3. Fellis says:

    Good God, someone who likes these books accuses someone else of being undereducated? That’s so mind-bendingly absurd I think it just blew a hole in the space/time continuum.

    You’re doing great work my friends, all power to you. Rape culture is too often hidden in plain sight, and calling to task high-profile examples (and such an extremely *toxic* example such as this) is vital.

    I’m sure a backlash will occur naturally at some point, if its any consolation, because anything as ‘big’ as 50SOG always, always does incur one sooner or later. (And seriously thinking of starting my own blog called ’50 Shades is abuse of the English language’ but that’s a whole other avenue…)

  4. […] Abuse Is A Painful Fact, Not 50 shades of Fiction (50shadesisabuseblogring.wordpress.com) […]

  5. […] Abuse Is A Painful Fact, Not 50 shades of Fiction (50shadesisabuseblogring.wordpress.com) […]

  6. Reblogged this on multicolouredsmartypants and commented:
    I just had the misfortune of seeing the trailer for ’50 Shades’. I have seen copies of this book on my friends’ and family’s bookcases. After watching the trailer I was incensed. It took about 20 seconds for me to spot the young, child-like, vulnerable female character and the manipulative, controlling male character who saw his chance and took it. By the end of the two minute trailer I could not believe that not only does a bestseller glamourise domestic abuse, but now Hollywood thinks it makes a good movie, too. No doubt it will do well at the box office. I cannot understand for the life of me why any woman would be attracted to a man like that… but then, I can’t understand for the life of me why I was married to a manipulative, controlling man for a decade, either. It makes me sick to think that women and men watch this stuff and think it’s ok. It is just wrong.

    • mrsmanics says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Christian Grey reminded me so much of my abusive ex that reading the book was genuinely traumatic. To see women and girls wishing for someone who treats them with so little respect and whose behaviour is so utterly repugnant is frightening. That so few people in the media are willing to publicly call out the abuse being romanticised is just as terrifying!

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