JHJH member's Story

Fifty Shades of Grey

When I started the freedom programme we were told that at some point we will all have a light bulb moment where everything we learn sinks in and we understand what the programme is all about and why we have ended up on it.

For me, my light bulb moment was when we were learning about the ‘sexual controller’ and how much this behaviour aligns with Mr. Grey from the well known Fifty Shades of Grey books/films.

These books were the best selling books in the UK and USA, selling over 5.3 million copies - people were hooked. Including me. 

The way the books are written portray that young, innocent Anastasia Steele is “shocked yet thrilled by Mr Grey’s singular erotic tastes”. It grips you in a story about how they enter a passionate physical affair and “for all the trappings of success- his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family - Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control.” The fact that the books describe Mr. Grey as “tormented” and “consumed” already forces people to believe that his abusive behaviour is acceptable and justified and it reinforces his controlling behaviour. 

At the start of their relationship Mr. Grey makes Anastasia sign a contract of their relationship which describes both the roles and responsibilities of the “dominant” and the “submissive”. A few “rules” that were listed in this contract were:

  • The Dominant shall take responsibility for the well being and the proper training, guidance, and discipline of the submissive - can women not look after themselves??
  • The submissive is to serve and obey the dominant in all things - we are not  men’s slaves! 
  • The dominant and submissive enter into this contract for a period of three calendar months - not only does this completely take any romance out of a relationship, it is complete control over the length of the relationship!
  • The submissive will make herself available to the dominant from Friday evenings through to Sunday afternoons each week - women should not sit around waiting to be beckoned to a mans needs, we have our own lives! 
  • The dominant accepts the submissive as his, to own, control, dominate, and discipline during the Term - are you kidding?! The biggest red flag I have ever seen in writing !! 
  • The dominant shall provide the submissive with all the necessary training and guidance in how to properly serve the dominant - Makes women sound incapable of how to make a man happy.
  • The submissive shall accept without question any and all disciplinary actions - so a women should accept and take any physical or emotional abuse without question? No way!
  • The submissive shall not look directly into the eyes of the dominant - this completely degrades women’s status and self worth.

On top of all this, Mr. Grey controlled how much sleep Anastasia had each night, what food she ate and how often she ate it, what clothes she wore to work and in public, what exercise she did and how often she done it each week, when she washed and lastly what personal qualities she must have during this contractual relationship. 

When you pick these qualities out and isolate them, it is so clear to see he is a perfect and relevant example of an abusive man but the books/films very cleverly distort this in to a love story that get you to feel sorry for him and his troubled past because she loves him and accepts the way he is. 

I completely fell for this, as the writer intended, and I ended up on the freedom programme after leaving an abusive relationship for this very reason - you think you love that person so you accept the abuse. So what about the other 5.3 million readers that also fell for this book and believed Mr. Grey’s behaviour was acceptable? 

One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt from the freedom programme and a message I want to pass on to everyone reading this is; there is no excuse for abuse. Know your self worth and do what you need to do to heal. 

Find your Mr. Right not your Mr. Grey! 

JHJH member's Story

I went along to Joining Hands Joining Hearts and really wondered why I was there.  I feel very fortunate to be in a long and happy marriage and had not suffered domestic abuse in the same way many of the other ladies spoke about.  However, as a child my mum suffered from domestic abuse which was often very violent and emotional.  As a child I, with my siblings, witnessed this over several years.  I realised that my experience as a child could help to support others that have been through similar experiences.  The ladies in this group have really helped me to see how growing up in domestic abuse has affected my life but more importantly they have all shown me how overcoming these experiences and supporting others can really make a difference.  Within the group we have cried and laughed so much together and I now have an amazing group of supportive friends that can really be relied upon, no matter what life throws at me.

JHJH member's Story

JHJH have been an amazing support, mentally physically and emotionally not just for myself but my children as well. They have became the family we needed.
The coffee mornings are great fun and we all bring a hug and a smile. Tissues are a plenty but it's a safe environment for us to be nurtured, listened too and heard.
I left an abusive marriage after 15years of denial. JHJH have supported me and my children, moving, learning and growing as individuals. I have never felt so able to be me and I'm learning to use my voice. Every  person has their own story and being within such a safe, friendly environment has helped me own my story and make new chapters.

JHJH member quote

"The support you get is genuine and the friendships are real"

 

Poem by JHJH member

They started as a flippant remark
That when repeated enough left me in the dark
They flash round my head leaving me unsure
Some days so strong I'm trapped indoors
Small things that I should know aren't true
Cause reaction but I can't undo
And all because at an important time
I took too much notice of just one line
That's stuck and made it way within
My head but now I must begin
To turn the one liners round
To positives that don't knock me down
But instead they start to build me up
So God can once again fill my cup
To overflowing as was before
When I never thought twice of going outdoors
To find the strength I must embrace
New one liners to take their place
So I will try to fill my head
With positive one liners instead
You can you do you will you'll see
You're the best mum you can possibly be
You're loved you're funny the generous too
You're needed you're welcome by more than a few
God made you in a perfect way
Are all one liners I need to say
And in time they will replace the Old
And anxiety will no longer have a hold