October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I am sharing this post (first written in February) on the web site for our local domestic violence agency, Elijah Haven. This agency assists victims of domestic violence by providing safety, counseling, guidance and other types of assistance.
The graphic above is a drawing made by a little girl who came to the agency with her mom. Children are the innocent victims of domestic violence. I’m sharing this post here, in the middle of blogging for 31 days, to help spread awareness.
Last February, I watched The Grammy Awards and about mid-way through, I saw my President encourage all of us to create awareness and help women out of violent relationships. His message was followed by a moving statement from domestic violence survivor Brooke Axtell and Katy Perry’s performance of her song “By the Grace of God”, which she admits is autobiographical and which alludes to suicidal thoughts because of abuse. In it, she sings these words:
“By the grace of God (there was no other way) I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay) I put one foot in front of the other And I looked in the mirror and decided to stay Wasn’t gonna let love take me out that way.”
I had to wonder, am I the only person who sees the sad irony in this very commendable Grammy performance coming days before the Valentine’s Day opening of a much-heralded, pornographic movie about sado-masochism and abuse?
Neither our President nor Katy Perry referred to the very obvious contradictory message displayed in the popular book and movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” (in the past eight months, the movie has grossed over $500 million). I only wish they had been so brave.
For anyone unaware (as I was until I did the research), “FSOG” tells the story of a man who seduces a young woman and lures her into violent sexual acts. His actions are justified because he was abused as a teen, she consents, and the story is all wrapped up with a redemptive outcome.
Sadly, many young couples spent their Valentine’s Day date night watching pornography. And they came away believing this is love.
For three years, I worked for Elijah Haven with local youth to produce a drama about teen dating violence — shedding light on behaviors that lead to domestic abuse . We took the drama to local high schools, churches and youth groups and presented it in public performances. Along the way, I heard stories from teens about ways they had been abused in dating relationships — mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually.Sexual abuse and violence in the name of love are never excusable or desirable. Click To Tweet
And now we, the supposedly responsible adults, are telling them that such abuse is excusable, even desirable, depending on the circumstances. Sexual abuse and violence in the name of love are never excusable or desirable.
There are several ways we can work to counter the damage that has been done by “FSOG”.
- Boycott the movie. If you haven’t already seen it, don’t rent or buy it. If you want to see a good movie about true love, consider renting “Old Fashioned”, a movie that “offers a romance where sex will wait until marriage and God is a crucial part of its hero’s journey.”
- Educate yourself. We need to be able to discuss the topic intelligently and learn how to combat the movie’s negative impact. Visit www.ncadv.org for more information.
- Talk openly with your children and grandchildren about sex. If they walk through a shopping mall, watch television or pick up a magazine, they’re going to see explicit sexual images. The ongoing conversation about this book and movie has added to the need to address the subject of sexual sin with our children and grandchildren. You have no choice but to meet it head on.
- Support efforts to combat domestic violence. If there’s an agency in your community that works to assist victims and rehabilitate abusers, that’s a good place to start.
The worst thing we can do as moral individuals in a culture that glamorizes abuse is to deny the attitude exists. It obviously does. Turning our backs will not prevent this movie’s message from impacting our world. Talking about and living out real love can make a difference.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5