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Is a Popular Franchise Glorifying Domestic Abuse?

 Posted on February 21, 2017 in Domestic Violence

DuPage County domestic violence lawyersEarlier this month, the movie Fifty Shades Darker was released in theaters around the world. The film is based on a novel of the same name and is the second in a series that began with the now-famous—or infamous—Fifty Shades of Grey. The franchise has become widely popular taking a taboo subject matter and making it more mainstream, albeit with no small amount of controversy. Even with the book series having sold hundreds of millions of copies and the films generating substantial revenue, many women’s advocates and victims’ rights groups have decried the franchise’s depiction of coercive and abusive relationships.

Scandalous Appeal

When the first book hit stores in 2011, author E.L. James was credited with promoting feminine equality and sexual expression. The plot of the novel involves a young woman who becomes intimately involved with a successful businessman. Their sexual relationship is depicted as one that heavily includes various implementations of BDSM—bondage, discipline, sadism (or submission), and masochism. Fans of the series applauded James for promoting the freedom of expression for women to embrace their sexuality, even if doing so involves methods that are considered alternative or unusual.

A More Dangerous Side

While the ideals of free expression are certainly laudable, there are other factors at work in the Fifty Shades series that have caused a great deal of concern for relationship experts and victims’ rights advocates. The male main character—the titular Christian Grey—is a manipulative, controlling man. During the course of his relationship with the female lead, he stalks her, makes demands regarding her clothes, diet, and exercise, and cuts her off from family and friends.

Experts familiar with BDSM recognize that control, domination, and submission are an important part of such relationships. What the series seems to be missing, however, is the foundation of trust, love, and consent on which such dynamics are based. Fifty Shades blurs the line between lifestyle choices in a trusting relationship and abusive behavior fueled impulses and a lack of boundaries. The protagonist agrees to violent sexual encounters with which she is uncomfortable. Her consent, however, is not based on love or trust but on fear of losing her partner and timidity about speaking her mind.

Seek Help for Domestic Abuse

In any relationship, trust is the most important factor—especially if the relationship includes physical elements. Unwanted physical contact is a form of abuse and should not be tolerated. Of course, there many other forms of domestic abuse as well, including stalking, verbal abuse, and emotional isolation. Regardless of what you may have seen on the big screen or read in a novel, you do not need to accept such behavior from a partner

If you have been abused in any way, you need to seek help immediately. Contact an experienced DuPage County domestic violence attorney for guidance. Call 630-352-2240 and let us assist you in finding the safety and security you deserve.


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