Let’s play a game! How would you feel on the receiving end of some of Christian’s “romantic” gestures? These are only some. There are many “romantic” gestures that are left out, and none of them involve Christian respecting Ana’s personal space.
To begin this game pretend that you are Ana, for good or bad. Write, or type, what you feel about Christian Grey. He is sweet? Sexy? Scary? Jot down a few words to describe him, and see if you feel the same after going through several scenarios starting the night before you start to date, through the first 14 days of dating. Since this is a game with just one player, you don’t need to worry about who goes after you.
Now that you’ve taken care of the pre-game step, let’s start the party of one!
1) Christian stalks you so severely that you “fondly” calls him an “intimidating stalker.” One night, you drunk-dial him, and manages to track your exact location via her cell phone, which is illegal without you consent. You never gave him permission to use technology in a way that requires a court order. But you don’t have the time to wonder who he had to pay to access your private phone information. How would you feel if this happened to you?
1b) And there’s a bonus to this one! How would you feel if you woke up in the bed of a man you aren’t even dating, without your clothes on and without recollection of how you got there? That capped off that night.
2) Two days after starting to date, you are overwhelmed, and send him an e-mail saying you are breaking up with him. She mean it as a joke, but Christian doesn’t know that. You’re in your room, packing, getting ready to move. You just sent a guy a email saying it’s over. You look up, and there he is in the doorway. You’re stunned. He’s the last person you expected to see, but there he is. Your heart is racing, like Ana’s. You’re looking for an escape route, like Ana was. (“I glance around [my bedroom], plotting an escape route, no – there’s still only the door or window.”) You’re panicking, like Ana. He tells you he’s going to tie you up. Shit! This is the guy you just told was no longer your boyfriend! But he strokes your ego. Tells you you’re beautiful. He wants you. And you’re still scared. You can’t get away. You know he likes to hit. So you get on the bed, panicking, and he ties you up. He pulls your shoes off. You don’t want that, and tell him No, but he threatens to humiliate you. (“No,” I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. I you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you. Keep quiet. Katherine is probably outside listening right now.” Gag me! Kate! I shut up.) He has his way with you, since you must be consenting since you aren’t protesting now, and you get an orgasm out of it, since voluntary physiological responses only happen in the form of spontaneous erections for teen boys, right? Afterward, he lets you go, gets you a cup of something to drink, and leaves. You go to the living room, and your roommate’s first response is to panic and ask you what’s wrong. You’re crying, and you never cry. But you’re crying. You tell her what happened about the email and he showed up and threatened you. Her response is to tell you, “He’s smitten with you,” reaffirming that what just happened is okay. How would you feel right now?
3) The next days, he decides you aren’t allowed to keep your car. Kiss your car good bye. It’s gone, and you’ve got a new one. It doesn’t matter that you wanted to keep your old one. He didn’t want you to have it, and so took it away. This isn’t the first time he’s given you what he insists is a gift, though he knows you don’t want it and aren’t comfortable with it. How would you feel knowing that someone you just met could so easily take away something you value and have some pride in, to replace it with something you don’t want? (Oh, and for some good measure, you have to get permission to drive that new car.)
4) Eight days after starting to date, on a Sunday morning, you wake up at his place to find he had called in a gynecologist since he thinks it’s time you went on the birth control pill since he hates condoms. You weren’t consulted. You go along because you don’t know what else to do. How would you feel waking up to find a gyno you don’t know is there to put you on a medication you didn’t care enough about to seek on your own?
5) The very next day, you tell him you need a break, just nine days after you first had sex with him, and so you’re flying to see your mother. He promises to give you space, but gets your confidential flight info and upgrades your ticket, just to show that he can. Two days later, while taking a break from that boyfriend you call overwhelming, you turn around to find him a few yards away from you. He shouldn’t have known what restaurant you were in, or where you’re sitting, and yet there he. So much for that break you said you needed. How would you feel thinking someone was thousands of miles away, then turning around to find him right there?
Three days later, just 13 days after starting to date, you break up with him. (and cue the end of the first book)
6) Five days later, he’s not having it. You’re back with him because he says so. How do you feel?
7) The very next day, after just 14 days of dating, 19 days after first having sex with him, 4 days after you start your new job, he tells you that, in the last 4 days, he bought the company. He’s your new boss. How do you feel?
So you know he can access your personal information, track you down to your exact location across the country, won’t take NO as an answer to the sex he wants, you know he’ll humiliate you and force you anyway, he is willing to buy where you work so he can control your career.
Tell me something. How likely are you to consent to sex out of a genuine desire, and how much of that consent is because you’re scared of what he’ll do if you don’t? Are you consenting because you want to, or because he may as well have a gun to your head, and it’s easier to just do what he says? What are the chances you may be experiencing Stockholm Syndrome? If you aren’t sure what that is, scroll down to page 10 of this FBI monthly bulletin. For more information, read Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser.