Even when the abuse warning sides are highlighted women are still adamant that this fictional character that has “charmed” the nation is not abusive....how can he be ...he is an exciting millionaire?
The question is if Christian Grey wasn’t a millionaire and the e was removed would the characteristics of abuse be easier for women to recognise?
So lets explore this and say that Ana was helping her friend write an article on business and went to interview Christian a normal IT worker rather than the business owner. She was still attracted to him on the initial meeting and there was a certain rapport but at the same time she felt overwhelmed and quite intimidated by his presence. On leaving they had made no plans to meet further but out the blue he just turns up at her place of work saying that he was “in the area” but she hadn’t told him where she worked. Does this sound normal...or maybe a bit creepy?
So quite rightly her gut feeling is that this is a bit weird but as she is attracted to him she ignores that feeling and the communications with him continue. She carries on with her normal life and goes out and has some drinks with her friends to a club....and Christian (the IT worker) turns up unannounced in the club even though he doesn’t live nearby and would not normally go to that club. She and her friends have had a bit too much to drink and her friend makes a pass that he would not normally make, Ana is quite competent and can handle this but Christian (the man she hardly knows) steps in and takes “ control” of the situation making out she was in some kind of danger and he insists on driving her home. Does she need to tell him where she lives? No.... weirdly Christian ( the IT worker ) already knows this information because he has been stalking her......Ana is unsettled by this but again a bit flattered that he must like her a lot to go to all this effort.
Then very quickly into the developing relationship Christian ( the IT worker) wants her to sign a contract that basically stipulates what she wears, how often she exercises, how much she sleeps, what she eats and details how many times a week she must see him....is this all still sounding like an exciting romantic relationship or is this signalling an unhealthy realtionship?
Ana is struggling to understand this complex Christian (the IT worker) character – she knows he has been hurt in the past and is constantly worried that she cannot live up to his ex’s and won’t be able to please him and keep him happy. She finds him moody and is often walking on egg shells as she doesn’t want to say or do something that will make his mood turn. She finds herself crying a lot more than normal, but also finds it hard to confide in her best friends as they probably wouldn’t understand this complex relationship . When she does tell Kate things Ana finds herself making excuses for Christian’s behaviour.
Eventually she realises she needs some time out and decides to go and visit her mum for some much needed “me” time and an escape for a few days. Christian seems moody when she tells him but then accepts that she is going but provides a phone for her to keep in contact with him. After a couple of days alone Christian turns up out the blue ....he didn’t tell her that he had bought a plane ticket and certainly didn’t ask her if it was ok to interrupt her family time.... but this is normal behaviour isn’t it....or are you getting a sinister undertone now, does this man understand the need for personal space ?
Ana starts a new job but immediately Christian (the IT worker) is jealous of her boss and doesn’t like it when she is asked to attend a business meeting for work as it means her spending time with him. Ana is annoyed that he does not trust her to handle herself. Christian is so jealous that he uses his IT expertise hacks into the work email system to read what emails she has been sending and also has one of his friends watch the office to see where she goes on her lunch break.......is this still romantic or would you maybe call it extreme controlling behaviour and invading privacy ?
Ana knows he is overprotective and extremely jealous of the male friends in her life and this unnerves her. She manages to pass the feeling off, “silly controlling over protective Christian” , “he is only like that because of how intense the relationship is”, “he has never felt this way about anyone before ” ,” it just shows how much he cares” ....are just some of the things she keeps telling herself . As time goes on and the jealousy gets worse, its difficult for her to even arrange a social event where any of her male friends are involved and she starts feeling torn between them and Christian. She know that she needs to invite him to everything she does, but is disappointed that they only get to stay for fifteen minutes at Jose’s gallery event because Christian wanted to leave , especially as it had been such a while since she had seen her fiends. Ana starts to question why it is ok for Christian to stay in contact with his ex and even do IT work for her when it seems to be so difficult for her to have any kind of friendships with men, even though these men have always been her friends and she has never been in a relationship with any of them!! These “double standards” wind her up but Christian doesn’t understand how this is unfair and always manages to turn this back round in an argument so she feels at fault.
Something inside her starts telling her that she needs to get away from this man...but she doesn’t feel like she has the guts or strength to do it. Besides she has had great times with him, and when its good its fantastic. On the flip side when it is bad it is terrible and she feels the worst she has ever felt . True love comes with a price though doesn’t it? – she asks herself. She feels like she is losing track of who she is. Her friends and family have been commenting that she has lost her spark and that she is a shadow of her former self. Can people have a relationship unless they change to suit their partner she wonders? She knows that Christian is a very troubled character, he tells her himself that he is “damaged goods”. She does not want to live life on the edge like this constantly worried about the state of the relationship, never feeling good enough. Sometimes when she has “made him angry” she sees an edge to him, and she worries about what he is capable of. She walks on egg shells trying to avoid the moment when happy Christian turns into angry Christian with dark eyes and a grey soul.
So if it was your friend going out with Christian ( the IT worker) ...would you be able to see the signs of domestic abuse? Would you tell her that someone who stalks you, checks your emails, turns up unexpectedly when you said you needed some space, is jealous of all your male friends , doesn’t like you going on business meetings because your boss is male, demonstrates severe lack of trust in you, has mood swings over nothing , can terrify you with a glance, tells you what to wear and eat, wants you to sign a contract etc, etc, is the ideal boyfriend?
Would you tell her that this sounds like a nice, normal healthy relationship? Would you tell her this is the most “romantic” relationship you have ever heard of and they should really make a film about this to show women how “exciting “ relationships can be? Would you be jealous because you wanted your own Christian (IT Worker) obsessively jealous, controlling dreamy boyfriend, would you post on social media sites that you wish you had a Christian (IT worker) of your own........OR would you see the danger signs that women who have suffered in domestic abusive relationships are seeing in this character and tell her to get the hell out of the relationship (safely) and NEVER GO BACK ?!!!
I know what I would tell her!! This may be “only a book” but it is giving a very dangerous message. Please spread the warning signs of domestic abuse and help lower the statistics of this life destroying crime. 1 out of 4 women suffer from domestic abusive relationships, 2 women a week die, there is no happy ending!!