Cause for Justice (CFJ) has launched a campaign on the Fifty Shades Freed film, as part of its wider focus to oppose the normalising of sexual abuse and violence against women. The campaign seeks to create awareness and educate the public on the harms of messages that normalise and romanticise exploitation of women.
The Fifty Shades Freed film goes on general release in South Africa on 9 February 2018. The film disguises the true horrific nature of the coercion, sometimes subtle and indirect, women experience in abusive relationships, by glamourising sexual abuse and ‘coercion into submission’ as a romantic fairy tale.
CFJ encourages all South Africans to take an active stand against all forms of coercion, violation of consent, abuse and violence.
CFJ is gravely concerned about the desensitising and harmful messages being spread by the Fifty Shades franchise, especially to impressionable school-going youths of ages 16, 17 and 18. Fifty Shades Freed has received a 16-rating from the South African Films and Publications Board, which is a travesty in itself. It is noteworthy that the Fifty Shades books and films have received strong opposition from international organisations, including the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation and Fight the New Drug, and researchers that focus on abused women.
In the end, the stark reality is undeniable: Fifty Shades depicts an unhealthy and abusive relationship marked by intimidation, manipulation, coercion, humiliation, degrading treatment, aggression, exploitation and violence, as love. This goes against our constitutional and societal ideals for healthy relationships that promote respect, consent, equality and dignity, and are free from verbal and physical aggression and violence.