Love is Kind… It does not rejoice in evil… It ALWAYS Protects!

If he hits you, if he causes pain, whether physical or mental, that’s not love.  It doesn’t matter how sweet or sorry he is the next day, it doesn’t matter how many gifts he brings you, how handsome or wealthy he is, it doesn’t matter if he promises to change, or if he says he only did it because of what you did… that’s not love, that’s a neon sign to get out, get away, leave the relationship.

Today is a great opportunity to consider what love truly is… and isn’t!  And to share that with those younger than you!  No longer can we assume people know.

Over 100 million copies of the book Fifty Shades of Grey are circulating and today the movie releases.  Don’t think because it’s rated R and can only be viewed by people over 18 that the younger generation isn’t being impacted.  This isn’t the first work of BDSM literary porn, but it’s the first to hit mainstream culture and be embraced.  Even Sherwin Williams is using “50 Shades of Gray” in their advertising!

Facebook is flooded with articles about why you shouldn’t see or read this…. And what’s the best way to get those younger to want to read or view something?

Yes, this is “just a work of fiction.”  But story is a powerful way of communicating and what this story is communicating has the  National Center on Sexual Exploitation off the charts concerned.  You see, it’s every woman who remains in an abusive situation’s dream – that if I just stay with him long enough and am obedient and loving enough he’ll change.

That’s the way this story ends – but that’s not reality!  On the contrary, The National Center on Sexual Exploitation states on its website that this movie, “Glamorizes and legitimizes both sexual and domestic violence.  In real life, women in these situations don’t end up like Anastasia – they end up in a women’s shelter, on the run from their abuser or, sometimes, dead.”

Women who are being victimized in a relationship are not the ones to rehabilitate their abusers!

Ironically, if you really want to help your abuser one of the best things you can do is to bring the abuse to light and leave until he gets help.  Rare is the person who will change without experiencing consequences for aberrant behavior.

Another lie is as long as there’s consent it’s not abuse. But this doesn’t take into account the psychological manipulation that is usually involved, which is why so many women experiencing domestic abuse end up remaining in the relationship. It’s vital to understand consent can be compromised by trauma, abuse, alcohol or mind altering drugs, miseducation, or a lack of knowledge.

Nor does consent remove the psychological or physical damage that results.  To get a picture of this you can read an article recently published in the Huffington Post entitled “He Never Hit Me”   Note how much the author still struggles over leaving the relationship. Does this ever show the impact of emotional and psychological abuse.

I first read this article when it was shared by Doris Rivera-Black, a former Colorado Springs police officer who stated, “Wow.  As I read this I could not help but feel my chest tighten.  I remember feeling just as this woman felt.  No, he never hit me… but the scars he left me with ran deeper than any physical pain I’ve ever experienced.  It was not until the night he kidnapped me at gunpoint that he actually laidhands on me but in now way the emotional and psycholical abuse I endured prior to that should have been minimized.  Domestic violence is not always physical.  I pray this article helps someone out there that may have felt invalidated.  You are not alone.  I thank God every day for freeing me of this abuse and I pray you too are liberated.”  (She has great resources on her facebook page and an incredible story of how The Lord rescued her).

And please note these consequences often don’t stop with the victimized partner!  Earlier this month The New York Times ran an article entitled, “To Stop Violence, Start at Home,”  which begins, “The pattern is striking.  Men who are eventually arrested for violent acts often began with attacks against their girlfriends and wives.” And goes on to say “More than half of the 110 mass shootings in the United States between January 2009 and July 2014 included the murder of a current or former spouse, an intimate partner or a family member.”  And it states, “Violence is a learned behavior.”

Since the book and movie also send the message that “This is what women want” this also increases the likelihood of this happening to the women around you, women you care deeply about.

Especially as it’s sending the message to women “This is what you want!”  And if the drastic increase in the purchase of bondage sex toys and rope are any indication, many women are believing this!  In a recent article, “Is 50 Shades hurting your vagina?”  The Washington Post reports the number of Emergency room visits for injuries related to sex toys has drastically increased since the book’s release.

I’m not writing this as someone who’s read the book or seen the movie, but instead as someone familiar with the aftermath in the broken lives of women, and I’m sadly expecting to see this more.

But one of the best ways to prevent this happening is to talk about it before it happens with those you love! And don’t just talk about it from the perspective of “Don’t read this book” or “Don’t see this movie” but help younger women understand what true love is and how to recognize it and how the lies in this story can actually keep them from finding and enjoying what their heart truly desires.

To celebrate love, what it truly is, sometimes means having a hard conversation about what it isn’t.

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