Fifty Shades of Sexual Assault: Y’all, I told you.

[Trigger warning for rape]

A University of Illinois student is facing charges for sexual assault after, he says, trying to re-enact a scene from — yup — Fifty Shades of Grey. Mohammad Hossain is accused of assaulting a fellow student in his dorm room Saturday night. He had her strip down to her underwear, bound her hands and legs with belts, gagged her with a necktie, and blindfolded her with a knit cap. When he started hitting her with a belt, she started crying, struggling, and begging him to stop; when she managed to free her arms, he held them behind her back as he raped her.

His roommate came home soon afterward, but when the roommate tried to come in, Hossain held the door closed to keep him out. When Hossain was arrested later that night, he told the police that he and the victim were re-enacting scenes from Fifty Shades, confessing to the assault and “doing something wrong.” He reportedly appeared shocked at his hearing after the judge set his bail at $500,000.

But there’s no way a movie could actually inspire a person to do that kind of thing, right? I mean, we know the difference between fiction and real life, right? Like, a bio-nuclear engineering major and student ambassador and campus leader and triathlete would know better, right? People aren’t stupid enough to think that a movie is real life.

“Sandra, how can someone involved in all that let a movie persuade him to do something like this?” asked Judge Adam Bourgeois, Jr.

“He would say that it was consensual,” [Hossain’s lawyer Sandra Bennewitz] replied.

Y’all, I’m not speaking out for censorship, I’m not saying this movie shouldn’t have been allowed to be made, and I’m not saying that every person who watched this movie or read that book is going to go home and rape someone. But if you’re clinging to a belief that stories like this can’t possibly be dangerous without context or some kind of discourse or clarification, stop doing that. Because when you dismiss critics as prudish killjoys and discourage that kind of reasoned conversation, you legitimately do end up with college students beating and raping their classmates because BDSM*.


ETA: *By which I mean “using BDSM as a bullshit justification for what they did,” not “because they’re legitimately interested in BDSM.”

Edited to clarify, because apparently I didn’t manage to do that the first time: Fifty Shades of Grey, or more specifically the media’s unquestioning endorsement of it, isn’t going to create rapists or cause rape. Rapists cause rape. What the movie is going to do — and arguably already is doing — is create a target-rich environment for predators, encouraging women to accept abusive, harmful treatment because it’s characterized as kink (as I pointed out in my previous post). One has to wonder, for instance, if “Hey, why don’t I tie you to my bed and beat you with a belt?” would have worked on Hossain’s victim if the country’s most popular movie wasn’t telling women how sexy that is, and how if a guy is hurting you, you should just let him keep doing it because eventually he’ll make you come rainbows.

As mentioned below in comments, it’s already happened since the book came out: One Feministe reader mentioned new doms on the scene beating the crap out of subs because they think that’s how it works, and not accepting correction. Subs who can’t find responsible doms because guys think they get to do whatever they want. These guys didn’t start wanting to beat women up just because of Fifty Shades, but they now have women who have been told that that kind of treatment is sexy and empowering and BDSM. The movie didn’t create the predators; it just gave them better camouflage. It neither caused nor excuses Hossain’s assault, but it put him in a position to be able to do it.

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54 comments for “Fifty Shades of Sexual Assault: Y’all, I told you.

  1. scallywag
    February 24, 2015 at 1:32 pm

     Isn’t the allure of bondage role play the expressed act that one’s ‘abductor’ has the ‘dominated’ voyeur’s permission to be forced upon? Or are we to wonder if this is just another sign of young men assuming that women are objects to be had with as they imagine at their own unadulterated will?

    • Schmorgluck
      February 24, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Can’t it be both? Violent tendancies can stay unexpressed until they manage find a proper storytelling to go unleashed. As far as I understand, the BDSM crowd is particularly wary if this, and had been long before Fifty Shades of Crap.

  2. sb
    February 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Is it just me, or is there something in the fact that the first reported* case of this is someone named Mohammad Hossain?

    * reported as in publicized in national media, not as in whether or not a victim went to an authority

    • Sonia
      February 25, 2015 at 12:16 am

      Are you saying having that name makes people consent respecting feminists?

      • Alara Rogers
        February 25, 2015 at 9:01 am

        No, I think the idea is, there may be white guys with All-American names who have pulled the same stunt by now and gotten away with it, because when you are a criminal and a white guy, you get a lot more benefit of the doubt and kyriarchy working in your favor than if you are a criminal and an Arab with a Muslim-sounding name.

        Mr. Hussein is obviously a criminal and a rapist, but it is a little suspicious that the *first* such reported case features a rapist who does not have white privilege (or “American-sounding-name privilege”… what do we even call that?) to hide behind. Makes me think there might be others where the woman wasn’t believed or the media didn’t pick up the story.

      • sb
        February 25, 2015 at 9:44 am

        Exactly, Alara.

      • Ophiuchus
        February 25, 2015 at 11:27 am

        We have to call it white privilege, because “American-sounding name privilege” suggests that some names sound “American” and other names (like, say, Obama) do not. If you see what I mean.

      • Alara Rogers
        February 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm

        Yeah, but Robert Johnson could be a black man, and still get privilege for his name (under circumstances where he’s being identified by name instead of by picture or in person), whereas a white-looking dude with an Arabic name might experience prejudice under those circumstances.

        How about “name of Western European origin privilege?” :-)

    • Tim
      February 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      I had a similar thought. I don’t really mind that the guy got a $500,000 bail put on him*, and I certainly don’t mind that he got arrested in the first place, and I could even imagine a white guy with a “name of Western European [north of the Pyrenees] origin privelege” getting arrested, but I think it unlikely that he would get half a mil bail imposed.

      i.e., it would be OK if all rapists had $500,000 bail imposed

  3. Gomi
    February 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    you legitimately do end up with college students beating and raping their classmates because BDSM.

    Just to be clear, it’s not because of BDSM. It’s because of a BAD representation of BDSM. Plenty of college students are kinky, but they’re not rapists or being raped.

    Even so, I’ve seen a compelling argument that, while 50 Shades is a lousy movie for a lot of reasons, its presentation of kink was actually pretty decent. Even compared to a kinky favorite like Secretary. Much more discussion of consent in 50 Shades, for example.

    • Gomi
      February 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Not that I plan to see 50 Shades to confirm this argument for myself. Whatever its presentation of kink, it seems like a lousy movie anyway, with plenty of other troublesome issues.

    • February 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Just to be clear, it’s not because of BDSM. It’s because of a BAD representation of BDSM. Plenty of college students are kinky, but they’re not rapists or being raped.

      Correct. This obviously wasn’t an issue of, “Hey, BDSM looks cool. Let’s try it!” It was an issue of, “Hold on, BDSM means I get to keep fucking her even after she says no? That’s awesome!”

    • John
      February 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      I preface this with, I have not seen the film. But from what I understand, there is no scene in the film where anything like this happens. There is no scene where he beats her and rapes her as she screams for him to stop.

      Grey is jealous, manipulative, and generally a jerk. But when she says she wants to stop, he stops.

      We can’t have disclaimers to stop idiots/criminals everywhere from doing what is clearly stupid and criminal. Fifty Shades is now another entry in the list of movies where this has happened. Some of the movies are good (Natural Born Killers, A Clockwork Orange), and some not so much.

      • February 24, 2015 at 8:44 pm

        None of the movies you list there has been celebrated for the stuff that people are reenacting. Morning shows weren’t talking about how great it was that people are now feeling free to put on masks and stab each other. That’s the thing with Fifty Shades of Grey: Everyone’s cheering because women are feeling free to explore their sexuality — which seriously is great — but it’s centered around this inaccurate, mangled version of BDSM that’s just as likely to get them hurt as it is to get them off.

        Think of Fifty Shades of Grey like Fight Club. Did people watch Fight Club and then go out and try to start their own clubs and beat the shit out of each other? Of course they did. People aren’t bright. Now imagine that Fight Club is being praised by the media for getting people interested in martial arts and exploring their physical capabilities, and Chuck Palahniuk is on morning shows talking about the grateful e-mails he gets from guys who have felt free to discover their true strength through martial arts, and Fight Club-branded weapons are being sold, and people are starting up their own popular dojos based on what they learned from Fight Club, and Tyler Durden is being held up as a model of healthy masculinity. Now, does the thought that people might be getting their teeth kicked in on the reg take on a little more weight than just “something they saw in a movie”?

  4. Karak
    February 24, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I’m gonna hafta say this guy was off enough that he could’ve seen the Lego movie and then tried to pull her head off on the grounds that people are made of assembly blocks.

    I would be more inclined to be concerned if the situation was a consensual sex that went wrong–a belting seriously injuring someone or someone’s hands being damaged after being tied because the screen misrepresented how that goes. But this? This was bizarre psychopathology desperately seeking same. He would’ve found it somewhere.

  5. Naya
    February 24, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    This is just as intellectually dishonest as saying “video games cause violence in kids.” I don’t think a movie pushed him to do something that he wasn’t already inclined to do.

    • GreyWolf
      February 25, 2015 at 12:10 am

      I don’t think the author was saying the movie made him do it. I think they were saying that when a subject is so intense we have to make sure the right context is applied. And, as a gamer myself, yeah – same thing applies to video games.

      But in the case of video games we have a direct reminder of its separation from reality, there really is no excuse for mistaking that connection. Especially since, as someone else pointed out here, we don’t have things like the Good Morning America crew talking about how revolutionary it is that GTA includes such “normal” and “realistic” activities as having sex with a prostitute and beating people with baseball bats before running them over with cars.

      We are constantly reminded that things like video games are not real and shouldn’t be confused as “normal” so people that try to use them as an excuse or as a scapegoat can go fly a kite.

      But movies like this pile of tripe? Yeah, I can see it causing problems thanks to all of the people holding it up as if it were some pinnacle work and an example to all. C’mon, it’s a Twilight fanfic that caught the right audience and made its author a bundle. Nothing more.

    • February 25, 2015 at 8:30 am

      I tend to agree with this. I think that at least he had it in him with or without the movie. I think the movie influenced HOW he did it, which I guess is maybe a different discussion. Who can really say though.

      This was tragic either way obviously. I hope that the girl fully recovers from this and the guy gets whatever punishment is coming. A stretch in prison most likely. The fact that the bond was set high is an indication that this case is being taken seriously which is a good sign.

      I flip flop on this sometimes about the argument whether media causes people to do whatever. violence in video games, etc. As someone who grew up playing video games and watching horror movies, I don’t believe it. But as a dad, I really don’t want my kid consuming that stuff. I don’t think it’ll make her violent, but it’s just kind of… not ideal. I really do hope that people aren’t getting hurt because of this movie. But maybe they are.

      • Gomi
        February 25, 2015 at 10:30 am

        I think media can normalize certain behaviors. Watching a slasher movie won’t make you go out and kill people, certainly, but maybe immersing yourself in slasher movies might make violence more perceptibly acceptable.

        This is the same argument as Anita Sarkeesian’s work in video games (and now I’ve done it, calling down the wrath of GG). Playing games with misogynist themes or elements won’t make you a rapist. But it might make you accept minor acts of misogyny as normal.

        But then, circling back to 50 Shades, I’m not sure what’s normalized, except maybe an unhealthy codependent and abusive relationship pattern. The kink part of it, and any violent sexual behavior people might think derive from that, are frankly, unlikely. But, like a lot of romantic movies, the relationships in 50 Shades aren’t healthy, and I think it might normalize that, for viewers.

      • February 25, 2015 at 11:54 am

        yeah, that’s a decent way of looking at it. I like Anita’s videos. They opened my eyes to what video games are up to these days. I haven’t played any in about 10 years or so.

        The normalization thing is a concern. its like death from a 1,000 cuts. Hopefully this movie/book series will not start a whole wave of badly done BDSM fiction. It probably will unfortunately.

      • EG
        February 26, 2015 at 10:55 am

        I like this way of putting it too.

        I think we can’t have it both ways. We can’t argue for the value of art and culture and its potential positive effects on people without acknowledging that if art has that kind of power, it can also do damage. I have personally experienced both. I waited tables at a nightclub once when I was a teenager that ran constant loops of the nastiest porn I could then imagine (I can imagine worse now, but this was 20 years ago. More.). Within weeks it was altering and affecting how I saw my body when I was naked. And I did have the resources to be able to quit, so lucky me.

      • Gomi
        February 26, 2015 at 12:22 pm

        But like your response to “a lawyer,” EG, the negative impacts of art don’t mean that art should be censored or legally impaired.

        The best path is greater education and critical awareness of what a piece of art means, on the part of the audience. The detrimental relationship pattern of 50 Shades is similar to the pattern of many romantic movies, filled with co-dependence, abusive (rarely overt, but still common), implicit misogyny, etc. A public that is aware of these themes and able to think about them more critically can go a long way to mitigating the negative, while still appreciating the positive aspects of such media.

      • GreyWolf
        February 26, 2015 at 12:22 pm

        No argument there, it has been long proven that repeated exposure to particular types of media can desensitize us against that type of stimulus and change our reactions, or just change our reaction to a different kind. A good reason to be careful of what media we consume, and to be observant of what others are consuming, especially those in our care.

        I just tend to be resistant about any leaning towards blaming the media itself rather than the lack of context to put it in.

      • EG
        February 26, 2015 at 2:17 pm

        I completely agree, Gomi, and didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

      • Asia
        February 26, 2015 at 10:35 am

        yea, before year I would argued age plays a large part being children below a certain age struggle to differentiate fiction from nonfiction. There should a push for programs marketed to young children to include pro-social behavior.

        But remember the slender man stabbings..I think there is a real fear of people getting drawn into a subculture and thinking that all sorts of extreme violent behavior is normal.

  6. Sonia
    February 25, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Clothes don’t lead to rape and neither do movies. Keep the blame where it belongs.

    • February 25, 2015 at 11:33 am

      The blame for the rape is 100 percent on the rapist. “No, no, the movie made me do it!” is a bullshit defense, and it’s obvious from the guy’s reaction to his bail that he thought it would actually work.

      But there’s a brand-new predator-friendly environment that’s popped up with the unexamined popularity of the Fifty Shades franchise. It’s something that Feministe readers noted on the post before Valentine’s Day: new doms on the scene who think they can just beat the shit out of their subs because that’s how it works, finding it hard to find a responsible dom because they think it’s just about beating a woman up until they feel good. These guys didn’t start wanting to beat women up just because of Fifty Shades of Grey — but they now have a whole lot more victims willing to get tied to a bed frame and whaled on, not knowing that that’s not how BDSM really works.

      If you’re a guy who wants more than anything to tie a woman to a bed and belt her while she struggles and cries, how happy are you when the country’s favorite movie comes out and says, “Hey, women, how sexy would it be if someone tied you to a bed and beat you while you struggled and cried?” But that’s something we don’t talk about, because movies are fiction and rapists gonna rape, right?

      • February 25, 2015 at 11:50 am

        you make a good point here. The people for who this is something they want to do anyway, can use the popularity of 50Shades to get into a position to do these things to someone who otherwise would’ve been less willing. That’s got some validity to it in my eyes.

      • Gomi
        February 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm

        And this is exactly the concern of many in the kink community.

        The “abuser as dominant” is a common theme in the kink community. Go to any munch or visit any online kink forum, going back for decades, and it’s talked about. Especially for newbies (like college kids, out in the world and away from mom & dad for the first time), whose perception of kink behavior is all based on porn or what mainstream sources they can find.

        However, there’s a point to be made that such a concern has existed long before 50 Shades. Mainstream media has never had a decent portrayal of kinky relationships or individuals. People who come to kink with that as their resource have always been vulnerable, in this way. Whether submissive or dominant, it’s a problem.

        So, this movie is just more of the same. It’s popularity raises its profile, but maybe that heightened profile might also improve mainstream portrayal of kink. It’s worked for other alternative sexualities in the past, so why not now?

      • February 26, 2015 at 9:19 am

        Mainstream media has never had a decent portrayal of kinky relationships or individuals.

        Gomez and Morticia? Maybe?

      • Gomi
        February 26, 2015 at 12:26 pm

        Ha, yes, I guess Gomez and Morticia are probably the most sympathetic kinky couple in mainstream media. I will say that their romance and obvious love for each other, even as they take about bondage and pain, is actually pretty representative.

    • TomSims
      February 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm


      I agree 110%. Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for their actions and not try and shift blame elsewhere.

  7. Angie unduplicated
    February 25, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Millennia of slut-shaming and honor killings, but now MSM is suddenly lauding women “exploring our sexuality” when we allow men to be violent toward us??
    And, yes, every JimBob Cialitosis will get a free pass on this, courtesy of one Islamic asshole.

    Can’t we just call them misogyny-stream media and discredit them all, please?

    • Amelia the lurker
      February 28, 2015 at 3:31 am

      You do raise a good point—the mainstream acceptance of the book has less to do with an acceptance of kink in general than an acceptance of female submission in particular. I’m very skeptical that a movie with a female dom and a male sub would make the morning show circuit or have people encouraging women to embrace their inner dominant.

      Note I am NOT knocking female subs here, not just the way that society is so much more eager to promote female submission and male domination than the reverse.

  8. Broseidon King Of The Brocean
    February 25, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Here’s my interpretation of this discussion:

    50 Shades of Grey: “Consent is not important”
    People who do not care about consent: “This movie is so sexy!”
    People who care about consent: “This movie is not sexy. It is horrifying. It is similar to descriptions of rape.”
    People who do not care about consent: “Why are you trying to censor this movie”
    People who care about consent: “That is not remotely what is happening”

    Rapist: “I identify with this movie. It inspires me”

    People who care about consent: “This rapist identifies with this movie because this movie says rape can be sexy.”
    People who do not care about consent: “You’re wrong, public discourse does not influence people’s actions. Everything we do comes from the color of our soul. Movies don’t rape people, people rape people”
    People who care about consent: “I just wish you would listen to the words that I choose to express the thoughts in my head because clearly you are not doing that.”

    • February 25, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      I like your interpretation. I would only say that the label “people who do not care about consent” should be something different. I am willing to bet that the millions of fans of the book/movie actually do really care about consent in reality. I think they are just consuming it as a fantasy where consent is not a real issue because everything that happens is sexy and fun, and not reality.

  9. a lawyer
    February 25, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    But if you’re clinging to a belief that stories like this can’t possibly be dangerous without context or some kind of discourse or clarification, stop doing that.

    Straw man. Of course stories can be dangerous: but so what? Lots of things can be dangerous and that is sort of life. The mere possibility of danger can’t often be eliminated.

    Perhaps this particular incident wouldn’t have happened without the book ever being written, or published, or becoming popular. Perhaps not. My money is on “not.”

    Or, to be more accurate: perhaps this particular incident wouldn’t have happened if everyone–well, everyone who listens to such things–had adopted a sufficiently appropriate demeanor towards the book, and somehow had done their best to communicate their concerns, and also if it so happened that this particular victim and/or this particular perp were in the group that heard the concerns, and also listened to them, and would have changed their behavior anyway.

    In the real life version, my money is even more firmly on “not.”

    Because when you dismiss critics as prudish killjoys and discourage that kind of reasoned conversation,

    You seem equally dismissive of your opponents. I’m not sure if you want this to serve as some example of “no effort is invalid if it even causes an unpredictable reduction in a potential act of harm to anyone” thing, but that is sort of what this sounds like.

    In order to actually have been expected to prevent this (which is presumably the issue) what level of censorship, disclaimers, and re-education would you need to impose on people? If you want to argue for that, it’s going to be a high level of prudish killjoyness. And if you’re not going to actually prevent it, then it’s less justified.

    you legitimately do end up with college students beating and raping their classmates because BDSM.

    Well, no. You end up with people doing horrible shit because they are horrible people. The change is, mostly, in what they claim was their justification for whatever horrible stuff they were planning to do anyway. Yes: BSDM has some dangers as it’s always riskier to be tied up and vulnerable than not, but–as you can see from his willingness to restrain her physically when necessary–the relative change in risk is higher.

    • EG
      February 26, 2015 at 10:51 am

      In order to actually have been expected to prevent this (which is presumably the issue) what level of censorship, disclaimers, and re-education would you need to impose on people?

      None. I would argue for higher standards in secondary education that would encourage critical reading of popular texts.

      • a lawyer
        February 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm

        Well, I certainly can’t argue with that :)

        Though I don’t see that as having much effect on the issue.

  10. Sonia
    February 25, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I wish people would stop assuming he is an *Islamic* asshole (as a commentor mentioned above). Yes, his name indicates his heritage is Islamic but nothing beyond that. There is a fair number of atheists, agnostics, and others among people with Islamic heritage. Unless there is something to indicate he is a practicing Muslim, and there is something to indicate that that played a role in the crime, treat him as just another rapist, not as an Islamic rapist.

    • February 25, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Totally agree on this point. Well said. Not even sure why it keeps coming up, except due to his name you can reasonably guess at his heritage. I just think it isn’t a factor at all.

      I think some people here are disappointed he isn’t “white” or he doesn’t have a “white sounding name”. That seems wrong to me. just because this guy’s crime has an overlap with the movie in terms of the BDSM connection, people are acting like there must have been possible whites that have done the exact same thing and gotten away with it. Based on what evidence, I don’t know. Not saying it hasn’t happened, or that it’s impossible or even unlikely… I just think that it has nothing to do with talking about this one particular guy. Nor does bringing Islam into it.

      • Alara Rogers
        February 25, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        You could be right… but in light of the rampant Islamophobia in society right now, and in light of the degree of misogyny on college campuses that makes it so most rapists get a free pass on the grounds of “boys will be boys”, I find it suspicious that the first guy anyone hears of to be identified as an obvious, clear rapist who uses this movie as an excuse that the media seems to be willing to admit is an obvious, clear rapist using the movie as an excuse, happens to be a dark-skinned man with an Arabic name. He does not actually have to be Muslim to be on the wrong side of Islamophobia.

        I am not for a single minute arguing that he should be given any free pass or benefit of doubt; based on the article he seems to have admitted to his crime and the case seems unusually open and shut for a rape on a college campus. And I wish all rapes on college campus were handled with the rapist being vilified and the victim being taken seriously. So it’s not like I think anyone is handling this case wrong. I just wonder if there may be other cases that are being handled wrong, that we’re not hearing about, because the perpetrator is white or something.

        I mean, there’s a very long tradition in society of women’s complaints of rape being totally ignored and the woman being demonized, unless her attacker happens to be brown and not rich and famous. So when you see this falling neatly into a pattern that we see over and over again… what you wanna bet that the first white guy who tries to use a 50 Shades defense gets much more sympathetic treatment in the media?

      • Donna L
        February 25, 2015 at 7:04 pm

        The movie just opened. I’m not sure why you think there have already been other cases where someone used it as an excuse, with zero media coverage. If it had been around for a year — or maybe even a month! — I’d be more likely to buy that kind of speculation.

      • February 26, 2015 at 8:25 am

        FWIW I totally got what you were saying, and I personally didn’t mean to imply that you were saying anything like “he should be given the benefit of the doubt” or “the case is being handled wrong” … I understand the reasoning for wondering if white guys have possibly done this and not been reported or punished. I just feel like that is jumping to conclusions based solely on the perp’s name. I found that to be not helpful. I do understand the logic of your speculation, I just disagree with it.

      • Asia
        February 26, 2015 at 10:56 am

        My concern is that this will encourage isalmophobia. But I mean he was with a women not his wife and dishonored his family. It’s not like this guy will get any support from the Muslim community. I would expect his family to immediately distance themselves. Unless they don’t believe their perfect son did this but there is plenty of proof.

    • Donna L
      February 25, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Exactly. Even if he is a Muslim, what does that have to do with his crime? If a guy named Cohen had been arrested, would he be “one Jewish asshole”? If the name had been O’Reilly, would he be “one Irish Catholic asshole”?

    • Hugh
      February 26, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      His name does not indicate Islamic heritage. It indicates Arabic descent, but there are plenty of christian Arabs.

      • Donna L
        February 26, 2015 at 10:15 pm

        True, but to be fair, I don’t know too many Christian Arabs who name their sons Mohammed.

        Just like Jewish people don’t generally name their kids Jesus (though Joshua’s OK) or Mary or John (they use Jonathan).

      • GreyWolf
        February 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        True, but to be fair, I don’t know too many Christian Arabs who name their sons Mohammed.

        That just shows their parents were Islamic, or at least observant/compliant … how many people use “Christian” or “Anglican” names just because that is the norm for where they are or who they perceive themselves to be, even if they themselves are agnostic or atheist?

        What your parents named you means nothing about who you really are, really. It shows part of where you came from, and that is a small piece of who you are now, sure. But how small or large a piece is for us to decide for ourselves.

      • March 20, 2015 at 6:15 am

        I have a cousin called Nicholas and a nephew called Christopher.

  11. pheenobarbidoll
    February 26, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Sure gave him a handy excuse didn’t it? It wasn’t assault, it was kinky, romance!! All the women like that movie, right??

  12. March 13, 2015 at 12:03 am

    For many child abuse activists, the elephant in the room with respect to this movie and all the intensive discussion thereof is how inadequately protected minors are from the kind of treatment Ana receives as a consenting adult.

    It’s worth noting that if Mr. Grey were a high school principal in, say, Texas, he could routinely spank teenage girls–including those 18 or over–without breaking any laws. The only consent he might need is that of the girls’ parents. (For illustration, look up the case of Jessica Serafin and the School of Excellence in Education.)

    See also:

  13. March 20, 2015 at 12:35 am
    • Donna L
      March 20, 2015 at 12:42 am

      The charges were dismissed? How absolutely disgusting and horrible. So much for consent being something you can withdraw, or the principle that consent to A (being tied up) doesn’t imply consent to B (being beaten with a belt).

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