Every TV network in the US last week devoted time to the NFL (National Football League) player, Ray Rice, who, a few months back, knocked his wife unconscious in an elevator. The incident was caught on CCTV, and the NFL has just suspended the player indefinitely (the initial punishment was a two game suspension).
Debate has raged over who should be punished the most: the player, the NFL, or NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who, it seems, knew about the severity of the attack (from Rice himself), despite initially claiming relative ignorance.
The stark and terrifying high numbers of abuse victims, not only in the US, is appalling; but what is most disturbing is the number of women who don’t stand up to the domestic violence horror that it undoubtedly is. TV interviews with women wearing Rice’s number 27 shirt revealed a “He’s a good bloke who just made one mistake” mentality, with many claiming that what happens behind closed doors between a husband and wife should stay there.
These interviews appeared to be with not very bright women, blinded by the celebrity status of Rice. But there are many intelligent women propagating abuse who seem oblivious to the fact that they are doing so.
Take Fifty Shades of Grey, a book published and heavily publicised by Random House, run by a woman (Gail Rebuck). It is written by E L James, a woman. I have met them both and know them to be smart cookies. The book, however (I confess to having read only the first volume – that was enough), is not an entertaining romp; it is nothing less than a celebration of abuse heaped by a man upon a woman – and, moreover, abuse she contractually signs up for. Instead of thinking “What a weirdo”, she is turned on by the desires of this handsome, single man, and has relatively few qualms about being his piece of beaten up meat. She is, in essence, gagging for it – and not in a good way.
The book raced up the best-seller lists, attracting a huge female readership; there is a movie in the making – written by a woman (Kelly Marcel) and directed by a woman (Sam Taylor Johnson). Everyone is making a ton load of money from their efforts and everyone is ecstatic over the books’ success (a trilogy). I have no interest in whether the hero, Christian Grey, sees the error of his ways at the end of volume three (I have no idea if he does); what I care about is that Anastasia Steele is an abuse victim whose story tells women everywhere that abuse is a turn on; pain is good; men call the shots. Shame on all you professional women involved with this.
Did any of you take a moment to consider the irresponsibility of the message you are putting out there? Listen, I know that many people are into sado-masochism and that many men and women get off on pain. There are also many violent books out there, material that gets published on a weekly basis that is deeply disturbing. Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho was one of them; but that book was nowhere near as reprehensible as Fifty Shades, as it never suggested that any of the psycho’s victims got any degree of pleasure from the truly horrific ways they were killed. Indeed, the most sickening slow death was cut when the book was turned into a movie.
When women join other women to promote the idea that a woman enjoys violence on the scale of Fifty Shades, I seriously worry for our society. It makes them no better than the interviewees discussing Ray Rice; they, too, are in collusion with the side of society that turns a blind eye to one of the most important and unaddressed issues of our times.
I have been lucky with the men I have been involved one. Only once did a boyfriend push me around on the street; luckily, someone was there and instantly came to my aid. It heralded the end of the relationship, but not because I instigated it. He had been unfaithful, and it was my knowledge of the affair that ultimately brought things to an end.
Would I have kept seeing him, following that incident? Would his aggression have escalated? I have no way of knowing; but I know that my feelings for him overwhelmed any logical thought as to what he was actually doing or where it was going.
Ray Rice’s wife, Janay, is standing by her man because she loves him. It’s the main reason women who leave abusive men always go back (financial is another); the reason they forgive; and the reason they get beaten up again and again, and often get killed in the process – thousands upon thousands every year in the UK, and a heck of a lot more in the US, where it is claimed one in three women suffers abuse from their partners.
Men need to be punished for their violence; but women also need to get a grip and stop telling men that it’s okay for them to behave like this. Any woman who goes to see the movie Fifty Shades is financing abuse and putting another tick in the box that says it is all right for the abuse to continue, because, guess what: we love it, really.
I mean, REALLY?
I repeat: shame on you all.