She is told what she can & cannot wear, with whom she can be friends, & is not allowed to socialize outside of the home. She is isolated from anyone that encourages her independence. She is berated, belittled, & treated like a second class citizen inside her own home, & ridiculed in public places. No matter how hard she works, how much she applies her intelligence, or how much effort she puts into her appearance, she is told she is lazy, stupid, or unattractive, or all three. She is made to feel that her dreams are futile. She is controlled by sex, money, or her children, & perhaps all three. 

She is told that her faith is foolish. Her love is thrown back in her face. It is a daily struggle, & after a period of time, like a slow drip of water onto a stone, it hollows out a place in her soul where her heart used to be. Yes, she is one of the women adorned in burkas in the Middle East. But she is also dressed in the latest fashions, hair in a ponytail, retrieving the mail from the mail box next door to your house. 

She has endured verbal, mental & emotional abuse for so long that she no longer knows how it would feel to live in a “normal” home. She suffers in silence, because she carries no physical bruises, & there are no broken bones to prove her abuse. Her abuser is cunning, & has a way of making her feel as if she is the crazy one. So she pretends. She creates a facade for the world to see, & if she does befriend someone outside the circle of the cage that her captor has rigged for her, she is careful not to let them get too close, for the penalties that she & her family would bear are too great to allow the outside world to know the truth. It is the secret shame, the new taboo that no one wants to discuss, so they sweep it beneath the rug like stale crumbs that were missed by the vaccuum cleaner.

It is unfathomable how we can sit at social functions & calmly discuss movies like 50 Shades of Grey without addressing this issue. Abuse is wrong, whether you are in the Middle East, or the United States, whether you are male or female. Period. There are zero shades of gray!!! 

The fascination with BDSM, & experimenting with alternative sexual genres, should that be something that two consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their home (I am not condoning or condemning, just saying that is not the point I am trying to make) should never preclude compassion for people who are trapped in abusive situations. There is a despair, a loneliness, & a sadness that are unimaginable to anyone who has not endured such a situation personally. To make light of someone who has lost a limb or their vision is unthinkable in today’s society. Yet these women (and occasionally men) have lost the very essence of themselves: their identities. 

They are threatened with physical abuse, sexual abuse, removal from their homes, or to be cut off from financial resources if they do not follow the letter of the law & comply to their captor’s wishes. Many long for a better life, but they have no avenue of escape because they have been isolated from everyone outside the home, & they have nowhere to turn. Some brave souls swallow their pride & end up in shelters designed to rescue damsels in distress from dungeons of despair. Others remain, stoically bearing the unbearable days & even more unbearable nights, for the sake of their children, because the courts award joint custody in cases like this, where no hospital or arrest records exist to prove the abuse.

This type of abuse is very real. It is very damaging. And whether you realize it or not, it exists in the home of someone that you know. Whether you watch 50 Shades of Grey or not is your decision. I am not your judge. As a Christian, I would love to say that I will not watch it, but truthfully, we all watch movies that contain things with which we do not agree: every day we see murders, violence, robberies, etc, etc, on the big screen & on our personal televisions. That does not mean that we are going to become murderers, gang members, or thieves. But after we view such things, we do not glorify the sins, & neither should we romanticize the things that are depicted in this movie. 

As of this writing, I have no plans to watch the movie, but I am not criticizing anyone that watches it. But I do hope & pray that people will open their eyes to the domestic abuse that is happening all around us. Take away the Hollywood set, & the result is not pretty, glamorous, or anything to be celebrated. The truth is, that studies bear out that no one is capable of saving abusers from their abusive tendencies except for the abusers themselves, & of course, God. 

Ladies, tonight when you get home from work & your loving husband offers you a backrub; you get a bonus check & go out & splurge on a brand new outfit; you dress up & go out on the town for a Girl’s Night about; or you are playing BUNCO with your neighbors, pause a moment to reflect on those women who are sitting at home, waiting on their men hand & foot, all the while being cursed at with vile profanity because dinner was not perfect, or they missed a spot when they dusted the armoire. Think about those women who would love to be sharing a meal, a laugh, a pedicure, a movie, or a shopping trip with their girl friends, but who are not allowed to do so. Think about the women who are trapped inside prisons that are not of their own making. And say a prayer of Thanksgiving for your blessings. Then say a prayer asking for redemption for that woman down the street who has lost all hope for a bright future for herself.

50 Shades of Grey? The writer who suggested in her blog that people might want to consider taking the money that they would spend going to this movie & instead donating it to a shelter for abused woman had a great idea. I posted a link to her blog on my social media page, & one of my connections did make a donation. (Unsure as to whether or not he also saw the movie.) Realistically, though, I know that most people will eventually see this movie, whether at the theater or in the privacy of their homes. 

If you do see it, or read the book, consider making a donation to help women who are abused. At the very least, take the opportunity to open a dialogue about abused women in your Ladies’ groups at Church, in your neighborhoods, or in your civic groups. And please, do not forget to talk to your daughters & tell them that they do not ever have to allow another person to tell them how to live, dress, or act, if they are fortunate enough to be adults living in the United States of America. Think about it: do YOU want your precious little girl to be the one who is isolated & controlled, or worse, beaten & whipped???  50 Shades of Abuse is FIFTY SHADES TOO MANY!!!

– Lou Lehman Sams


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I am a Southern Belle, through and through. Born and raised in North Alabama, where my family settled in 1808, when the area was still the Mississippi Territory, I come from a line of Planters, Patriots, and Pioneers. They were people who were unafraid to take risks, who said what they believed, and who honored God and their Country. Like my ancestors before me, I have strong values, believing that the Golden Rule is indeed golden. I write as a way to relate and as a release. I hope that my words may inspire, challenge and provoke one to thinking about how extraordinary things can come out of ordinary places, people, and things.

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