Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

50 Shades of Flashbacks

If one of our friends became involved with a man like Christian Grey:-

We would be warning her.

We would be telling her how it ends.

We'd encourage her to store a bag at ours for when she plucked up the courage to go.

We would, I hope, reassure that we would still be there for her no matter how many times she tried and failed to get out.

After the romance, isolation and emotional violence, when it got to the actual abuse, imprisonment, torture, we would think about calling 999 and hope that we lived in an area where the police adopts a 'victimless prosecution' approach, i.e. the state taking responsibility for prosecuting for real crime, grievous or actual bodily harm, regardless of the victim's willingness to testify.

The younger generation of girls, now in their late teens, have grown up reading books like Jacqueline Wilson's excellent 'Lola Rose' where the eponymous heroine was a child witness of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse has not been solved but at least it is now named. It has taken thousands of individual women with the courage to speak out and male supporters to insist that violence and abuse is not a necessary part of their masculinity.

Just watching the trailer of 50 shades fills me with dread. I can still feel my ex-boyfriend's hands tighten round my throat, slowly depriving my brain with oxygen, the prelude to the first of many rapes and beatings. This is one in four of us, as women, at some point in our lives. I am not sure that banning the Stockholm Syndrome celebrating trash that is 50 shades would help but we need an urgent conversation about what this story would really look like.

In the words of Minerva Mirabel "Until the nail is hit, it does not believe in the hammer". How do we stop our sisters thinking this is a cool and edgy film and book, while wishing in our heart of hearts they never end up with a Mr Grey in real life?

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3 thoughts on “50 Shades of Flashbacks

  • Red says:

    Hello Roz 

    Firstly I had to look up who Christian Grey is: Christian Trevelyan Grey is the male protagonist of the trilogy and Anastasia’s love interest. (http://fiftyshadesofgrey.wikia.com/wiki/Christian_Grey )
    So once I’d done that, the article makes horrible sense.

    I feel and think and know that this is almost identical to Murdered By My Boyfriend a drama telling the true story of what happens to a teenage girl when she falls in love with the wrong man. The everyday story of young love turns dark and sinister when the handsome and charming stranger seeks to dominate every aspect of the young woman’s life. A tale of contemporary Britain that every young person should watch. ( 2 days left to watch / http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b047zl98 /
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b047zl98/murdered-by-my-boyfriend )

    I am confused every day when people (women) ask why this continues. In the drama based on the true story she meets the young man, who when asked what he does replies with ‘breeds pit bulls’, really? How many clues do you need? Kennel club registration mate? No?

    We (I) would be warning her.
    We (I) would be telling her how it ends.

    We’d (I would) encourage her to store a bag at ours for when she plucked up the courage to go.

    I then watch Big Brother, do we really need to ask why this continues? When people (women) like Bianca are interviewed and accepted and promoted by putting her on our television screens? Cheered and jeered walking in, and cheered and jeered topless walking out, let alone the full on sex show she performed for Helen, and the ‘I wanna ride your c**k’ comment to poor old Winstone as soon as she walked in. Who taught her to value herself like that?

    Instead of spending money on legislation, why don’t we (women) go into schools and let young people (women) know it is not appropriate let alone acceptable to take images (explicit or not) of our bodies especially for the (men / boys) people in our lives. I have had numerous relationships and not one (man) person has ever asked me for this type of image, not one, and if they had, I would have walked and I would expect my friends to

    warn me
    tell me how it ends

  • Roz Hardie says:

    Thanks for posting. I realised in retrospect that I accidentally wrote ‘actual abuse’ rather than ‘physical abuse’, which could be read as implying that isolation and emotional violence are not wrong in and of themselves. Of course I did not mean this. Similarly I wrote ‘deprived with oxygen’ rather than ‘deprived of’. This was just a typo.

  • Ayasano says:

    While 50 Shades does edge into abuse sometimes, I’d just like to stress that not all BDSM relationships = abuse, as this article doesn’t seem to mention that and might reinforce a misconception that has been around for a very long time. That misconception is only now being broken down, thanks in part to books like this bringing the topic into the mainstream consciousness, even if they do it in a very hamfisted way.

    Unlike what most people think, the BDSM community is full of wonderful, normal people, and they tend to be very protective of members of the community. People like Grey are excluded from events and play, and encouraged to seek professional help.

    And as a sidenote, NEVER go into a relationship like this unless you know the person very well or people you know very well can vouch for them. BDSM is all about trust, and it’s all too easy for that trust to be broken.