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A Rape Victim’s Problem with Fifty Shades and the like

The Fifty Shades series isAs a Christian woman, I shouldn't have to say anything about not to reading or watching them, but as a rape victim and a mother, I felt I need to.

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The Fifty Shades series is just the newest, shiniest example of racy romance novels turned into movies. As a Christian, I shouldn’t have to say anything to other Christians about not to reading or watching them, but as a rape victim and a mother, I felt I needed to.

A lot of wonderful pastors have written tremendous articles about the dangers of Christians watching movies like Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.

I can’t add much to such an excellent Christian commentary. I can only offer the purity standard I try to maintain for our home.

Philippians 4:8 ESV / Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Probably not achievable this side of heaven, but I have never regretted ‘breaking up’ with favorite shows that didn’t meet Christ’s standard.

So why read the rest of this post if I’m not adding to the “Christian” commentary on the film?

Because I can add my personal perspective on Fifty Shades as a date rape victim.

Movies like this that twist sex and violence aren’t harmless entertainment. They shape our views of sexuality. And affect the attitudes and behaviors of their viewers.

The Fifty Shades series is just the newest, shiniest example of racy romance novels turned into movies. As a Christian woman, I shouldn't have to say anything about not to reading or watching them, but as a rape victim and a mother, I felt I need to.

Read my perspective on Fifty Shades as a date rape victim. NO starts with what we watch. Click To Tweet

Films like these depict intense, sexually-charged content, which pushes viewers to seek more exciting, more forbidden sexual content.

And often viewers act on these fantasies, which is destroying healthy views on sex and sexuality.

Fight the New Drug  discusses studies that looked at the effect of graphic sexual media on teens, concluding people expect what they see of sexual relationships, for better or worse.

Movies like Fifty Shades show a man manipulating a woman into believing she will be sexually gratified through dominance and violence, and makes it seem romantic and fulfilling.

Violent sex isn’t romantic.

As a survivor of date rape, I find it tremendously troubling women have made this series successful. We are financing the spread of the pervasive media lie that women want to be forced into submissive sexual roles defined by pain and violence.

We are contributing to a rape culture because we learn to accept this twisted view of sexuality as normal in the name of embracing our sexuality.

Violence, pain, & force aren't healthy parts of sexual relationships. Say No to 50 Shades. Click To Tweet

My generation was the first with VCRs and access to porn right in their homes. Many boys I knew watched it and expected girls to match their movies, including believing that saying no was a game of “persuade me.”

I was a thing to be used, not respected or valued.

Many studies show ANY pornographic content affects the way we think about human sexuality. Even after viewing non-violent graphic sex, men were more likely to view women as less equal and believe NO only when accompanied by a slap.

This climate created the date rape culture that made me a victim.

Rape left a jagged wound in my life that will never completely go away. God has healed much of my hurt and used my experiences to help others, but I cannot ever completely erase the impact from my mind.

Sexually graphic media perpetuates a culture in which women are objectified not valued. Click To Tweet

Most days I walk around completely forgetting it ever happened. However, in a flash, rape raises its ugly head in the middle of a conversation, a usually tame television show, or a movie scene I didn’t anticipate.

While I don’t blame myself, I can tell you that my rapists’ sexual sin is like a poisonous weed that I can never completely eradicate. My rapist perpetrated violence against me on the inside, affecting more than just my physical body.

Rape is a crime against more than the body.

I can’t tell you how destructive it is to the true, God-honoring intimacy of marriage to have these mental and emotional flashbacks of my victimization.

Thankfully, through Christ and inside a loving marriage, the impact weakens. Yet, even when everything is perfect and good, I have found myself weeping because the shame and pain from my past poisoned what God has given us for joy.

So what does this have to do with Fifty Shades?

I have forgiven my rapist inside myself and in prayer, but never had personal closure. I don’t know what created the violent, sexual person he was so young. But I never want to support an industry or media that creates the widespread acceptance of sexual sin.

1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV / Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

Love and sex are already confusing in our sexualized culture. Kids are exposed to images of sexuality in hamburger commercials. Raising our children to be disciples of Christ in a society that ambushes their purity is hard enough.

Loving and satisfying sex within marriage is the true ideal.

Proverbs 5:18-19 ESV / Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.

We need to create a culture for our children that honors appropriate sexuality for ourselves and our children.

Hebrews 13:4 ESV / Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

So, I would ask you to learn about the very real links between watching (or reading) content like Fifty Shades and violence. I would ask you to consider changing the channel during the commercials for the film or writing to letters to the networks that air them.

We need to do more than not watch them, we need to change the culture for our children.

My daughter deserves a marriage with beautiful intimacy fueled by real passion for each other. I don’t want her to experience the pale reflection our sinful culture tries to appropriate.

That starts with us refusing to financially support ANY media that portrays graphic sex.

And that starts with you today.

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War Room – 3 Reasons Christians Should Watch

If you didn’t race to see War Room the week it was released and now aren’t sure you want to – Are you wondering why waste your precious quiet hours after bedtime on anything other than Hallmark’s countdown to Christmas?

Let me share my thoughts on War Room as a movie enthusiast, Christian, and mom who rarely gets to watch a movie in its entirety.

3 Reasons Christians Should Watch – WAR ROOM

1. It is Christ centered.

If you’re choosing between this and reading the Bible, pick the Bible!

But if you’re choosing between this and Scandal or Walking Dead, then put your focus on things worthy of attention (Phil. 4:8)

Mainstream media has become a toxic waste dump with more and more plot lines that are anti-God, portraying Christians as hateful hypocrites.

So, if you’re going to watch something, and most of us do . . .

Watch something that builds God up, that puts His name in our homes and on our tongues.

The last few weeks, my daughter and I have been watching Little House on the Prairie. At least the first seasons, most of the theology is sound. The characters face real struggles between believers, with sin, are counseled against pride and revenge. God and Jesus are mentioned regularly.

And I’m blown away that this show used to be on secular network television!

If we want more Christian media, we have to support Christian media. War Room is produced by Christians, the actors are Christians, the plot and story line focus on God and prayer.If you didn't rush out to watch War Room when it was released, and aren't sure you want to now, let me share 3 Reasons Christians Should Watch War Room.

2. Prayer matters

While many Christians struggle with some of the contrivances of the film,  (i.e. life is not often so neatly solved, and God doesn’t always answer our prayers in an easy or painless way), we can all suspend reality some for an overwhelmingly positive message about the importance of prayer. Jesus used fictional stories to instruct and inspire, called parables.

  • Many new believers considered prayer important for the first time.
  • Many non-believers heard God’s message through this film and Christian discussions.
  • Many Christians renewed their focus on prayer after this film.

I went home and made a WAR ROOM, did you?

And I’ve personally seen amazing answers to prayer in my own life. In our adoption journey, I literally wept and prayed about waiting for a child. When I finally prayed, “God it is your timing and I trust you. I will wait and accept your answer, even if it is NO” – I got a call less than two hours later we had been matched with a baby girl.

Sometimes God works in fantastical ways because He wants us to see miracles still happen.

3. It is GOOD.

All the main characters were convincing and human. It’s about a marriage struggling to survive modern life, a necessary message in our quick-to-quit society.

I laughed out loud a lot, like coke-up-the-nose laughter.

I cried. I went with the young woman I mentor in Christ, and we held hands, tears running down our cheeks through the ending.

Would all these events fit realistically into one person’s life within a few weeks? Probably not, but I felt much of the theology was sound, the movie was wholesome and truly entertaining in a time when finding both is nearly impossible.

And any movie that puts God and prayer at the center of the story is one I’ll be watching, what about you?