February 8, 2018

Abuse in 50 Shades Freed Fuels #MeToo Culture

The Fifty Shades franchise is advertised as an erotic romance, but in reality it is a story of sexual violence.

Fifty Shades Freed, irresponsibly and dangerously legitimizes sexual violence against women and encourages women to accept this type of abuse as normal or even desirable.

If we are ready to transform how our culture treats women — from exploitative to empowering — we need to stop making and watching films like Fifty Shades Freed that glamorize sexual violence against women.

It is entirely hypocritical that this film is coming out amid the momentum of Hollywood support for the #MeToo campaign. This story sends a message that an abusive relationship can eventually turn into a loving one and suggests money and prestige permit a person to sexually exploit people at will.

Fifty Shades Freed condones or outright encourages the physical and psychological torture many women cannot escape from. The Domestic Violence Hotline reports more than half of female victims of rape identified their intimate partner as the offender. Women like Anastasia don’t have ‘happily ever afters,’ they suffer at the tyrannical hand of their abuser.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, along with other organizations like Culture Reframed, the London Abused Women’s Centre, and Collective Shout have opposed the franchise from the start. In an effort to oppose the film’s release,  these groups have conducted a joint 50 Dollars not 50 Shades campaign. Instead of buying a ticket to Fifty Shades, donate 50 dollars to a women’s organization and help stop abuse.

Here are 5 actions that you can take to protest this film. 

Dawn Hawkins

Senior Vice President & Executive Director

Dawn Hawkins is a passionate defender of human rights who has dedicated her life to fighting against societal harms that threaten the dignity of others. Her energy, creativity and mobilization skills have revived the anti-pornography movement.

As Executive Director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), Mrs. Hawkins has developed a national strategy uniting conservative, women’s rights, child advocacy and religious groups, including a bipartisan political leadership, to work together raising awareness of the pandemic of harm from pornography. Her initiatives have led to sweeping policy changes of policies that foster exploitation for targets such as Google, Verizon and the Department of Defense. Through her leadership, NCSE has grown a network reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Mrs. Hawkins has appeared on many local and national television programs, including Fox & Friends, CNN and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the harms of pornography and all forms of sexual exploitation and what can be done to curb the growing public health crisis resulting from pornography.

Prior to joining NCSE in February 2011, she was a volunteer working for several hours each week for Patrick Trueman, current president and CEO of NCSE. While volunteering for Mr. Trueman, she was employed by a political consulting firm helping businesses and political candidates utilize digital strategies to reach expansive audiences and raise funds. Her expertise in social networking and digital strategies contributed to the successful election of several high-profile candidates in the 2010 election cycle. Dawn has worked on a number of prominent political campaigns, including Marco Rubio for Senate in 2010 and Mitt Romney for President in 2008.

Dawn regularly volunteers for organizations devoted to helping children and the homeless. She is a graduate of Tufts University and currently resides with her husband and two children in Virginia.

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