50 Shades of Grey… the Untold Story

~Guest Post – Amy Au

[Valentines Day weekend 2015, the movie Fifty Shades of Grey grossed $94 million in it’s 4 day holiday opening weekend. 70% of those who watched the film were reportedly women.]

When you see that number you’ll have one of two responses. Either way the dollar amount will be shocking—but will you see it as disgustingly HIGH or grievously LOW? It depends on what you think the problem is.

So far, the book has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. At the peak of its popularity, a copy was being sold every second somewhere in the world. It holds the #8 spot on the top-selling books of ALL TIME list. Number nine is The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I have a serious problem with this, but this is not the problem. The real problem is not how much money the author or people in Hollywood will make or how many moral-less people will see the movie. The issue is how many wounded people are drawn to the storyline and have no awareness of why.

In January, I spent four days at an Allender Center conference focused on equipping counselors to journey with people who have experienced sexual harm. Over four days, I survived 26 content hours of teaching on the effects of sexual abuse, videos of therapy session of people in recovery from incest, listening to my brave group members share their horrific stories when their bodies and gender were attacked and reading my own disturbing story of molestation. It took daily breathing and grounding exercises, lead by the teaching staff, to help us all stay intact. And this is why I will see the Fifty Shades of Grey numbers as shocking LOW.

My guess is that every ticket purchased will represent someone whose life has been ravaged by sexual violence…someone whose definitions of power, intimacy and pleasure (mostly likely at an early age) were planted in the soil of sexual harm. People, women in particular, will see the movie because there is something in its story that will resonate with their own.

Next week, when my IMDB sidebar announces this weekend’s box office reports, I’ll know that the number of tickets will lowball the number of people in our country who suffer the effects of sexual violence. I’ll remember the dollar amount will be a fraction of what porn profits were for the same three-day period. And I’ll pray that somehow, by God’s grace, a very sinister and misguided 125 minutes will be leading a shockingly HIGH number of people on a journey of understanding why harm would feel so good.

-Amy Au is a Native Texan, TCU grad and on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. A Mother of two: Makayla and Malakai (11, 7). She’s married to Shelly Au. She moved home from serving in Asia for 17 years in 2013…where she is still adjusting to being an adult in America 🙂 She loves watching movies before Oscar season & is currently working on a historical fiction book about Hagar!

How do we as believers respond to these elements in our culture that are so destructive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

photo credit: The most terrible poverty… via photopin (license)

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