Today’s first link is to After Silence. It’s not a news article. In their words: “Welcome to After Silence, an online support group, message board, and chat room for rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse survivors. You are not alone, you are not broken, and you can heal.”
Additional links, which are extremely important:
What Science Say About Arousal During Rape
How the Body Reacts to Sexual Assault
Sexual Arousal & Sexual Assault
Arousal During Rape: The Science Behind Why It Doesn’t Equal Consent
“What if my body had a sexual response during rape?”
A biological mechanism that protects against rape?
(Directory of recap links)
This is a long recap that includes two long quotes from Fifty Shades. What happens here is horrifying, and I wanted to wait until after out Independence Day to post this. It’s a hard read, but I think an important one, since people are defending this, and it’s important to know what they’re defending so it can be rebutted. I’m deeply unsettled by how believable Grey’s mindset is for a rapist to have.
Grey pulls up outside the apartment, and wonders if this is a good move. How about…NO, for $200, Alex.
Opening the door of the car and climbing out, I’m uneasy; it’s reckless and too presumptuous of me to come here. Then again, I’ve already been here twice, though for only a few minutes.
That’s a new one. “I’ve been here before, so it’s really okay for me to come back, even though…”
You’re here because you think it’s a “no.”
There you go, Folks. He’s there with the intent of having sex with her, even though he thinks she said no.
How are people defending this? HOW??
Kavanagh answers when I knock at the door. She’s surprised to see me. “Hi, Christian. Ana didn’t say you were coming over.” She stands aside to let me enter. “She’s in her room. I’ll call her.”
“No. I’d like to surprise her.” I give her my most earnest and endearing look and in response she blinks a couple of times. Whoa. That was easy. Who would have thought? How gratifying. “Where’s her room?”
Not only does he want to use the element of surprise on Ana (turn her into a deer in the headlights, stun her so she won’t be able to think about saying no), but he’s using charm to get his way. Ted Bundy was said to be extremely charming as well. By the time he was fried in the electric chair, he’d confessed to 30 murders. He was also attractive, and drove a WV Bug (like Ana). He was also from Washington, and looked first for college girls in Washington.
Grey sounds an awful lot like Ted Bundy. Any chance he’s based on the guy? Except for the name. It’s either highly coincidental, or extremely creepy, that Grey’s first name is the same name as Stephenie Meyer’s husband. Yup, CHristian Meyer. And since we all know how much James idolizes Meyer to a “stay 1000 yards away” degree… Just idle speculation, of course, that James named Grey after her idol’s husband, and gave him some characteristics eerily similar to a serial killer.
Just as an FYI from the link on Bundy: “Serial Killers can come in all shapes and sizes: do not be fooled by charisma, charm, and attractiveness.”
He finds her room, and stands in the doorway watching her. She doesn’t notice him, and doesn’t hear him since she’s listening to music with headphones.
Perhaps she’s been for a run this evening…perhaps she’s suffering from excess energy, too. The thought is pleasing.
Well, if she had energy, it is probably gone now, and people exercise even without a lot of energy sometimes. Of course he’s thinking that, if she has energy, this means sex.
At least she has a double bed—with a white wrought-iron bedstead. Yes. That has possibilities.
That’s from the same paragraph.
So he believes she broke u with him, yet he planned on sex, showed up unannounced, and is surveying her room to make a sex plan.
Then she notices him.
Ana suddenly jumps, startled by my presence.
Yes. I’m here because of your e-mail.
She pulls out her earbuds and the sound of tinny music fills the silence between us.
“Good evening, Anastasia.”
She stares at me dumbfounded, her eyes widening.
He thinks that line, “Yes. I’m here because of your e-mail.” The indication is that she should be able to read his mind. After all, he already convinced himself she can see right through him and read his thoughts, like she’s Edward and he’s anyone but Bella.
She’s also acting every bit the startled deer in the headlights.
“I felt that your e-mail warranted a reply in person.” I try to keep my voice neutral. Her mouth opens and closes, but she remains mute.
Miss Steele is speechless. This I like. “May I sit?”
She nods, continuing to stare in disbelief as I perch on her bed.
Yes, her actions are with his dialogue. I’d love to see someone recap these books with a red pen. Das_Sporking does to a degree, though it’s not the focus of their initial trilogy recaps. But anyway!
No, her reply doesn’t warrant any in-person reply. She told him via email, and he could have responded that way, or perhaps a single phone call. Showing up unannounced, especially in her bedroom, is very aggressive. If a man I knew liked to hit people showed up in my bedroom after I broke up with him, I’d probably grab the lube to get it over with because it would be easier on me, physically, to cooperate than to fight and risk further harm. Society would probably say I asked for it either way, right? So many as well minimize harm when NO isn’t accepted as an answer. Somehow we’re always asking for it…
“I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” I offer as an icebreaker, though chitchat is not my area of expertise. She scans her room as if seeing it for the first time. “It’s very serene and peaceful in here,” I add, though I feel anything but serene or peaceful right now. I want to know why she’s said no to my proposal with no discussion whatsoever.
“How…?” she whispers, but she stops, her disbelief still evident in her quiet tone.
Angry. He’s very angry, and trying to lay on the charm still. She’s startled, having trouble, speaking, and is searching around with her eyes wide.
He has every reason to see that her no is still a NO. And in the first Fifty Shades book, she tells us, “I glance around it, plotting an escape route, no – there’s still only the door or window.”
“Would you like a drink?” she squeaks.
“No thank you, Anastasia.” Good. She’s found her manners. But I want to get on with the business at hand: her alarming e-mail. “So, it was nice knowing me?” I emphasize the word that offends me most in that sentence.
This is menacing and creepy beyond belief. Defenders of these books say Ana consented to sex. Look what he’s doing. He’s intimidating her, and he does know it. Consent through intimidation isn’t consent. When the options are to cooperate or be harmed worse, cooperation can help mitigate the damage. And we all know, through his own words and actions, through his eyes, that he’s there for one thing, and he has every intention of getting it.
She examines her hands in her lap, her fingers nervously tapping against her thighs. “I thought you’d reply by e-mail,” she says, her voice as small as her room.
“Are you biting your lower lip deliberately?” I inquire, my voice sterner than I’d intended.
“I wasn’t aware I was biting my lip,” she whispers, her face pale.
Nervous. Grey can see that she’s nervous, and she’s pale. Her eyes aren’t bright and her cheeks flushed. Oh, no. Tapping her thighs nervously, and she’s gone pale.
We gaze at each other.
And the air almost crackles between us.
Can’t you feel this, Ana? This tension. This attraction. My breathing shallows as I watch her pupils dilate.
Fear causes tension. It causes pupils to dilate. Dilation can indicate desire, but given all the other signs that he is observing clearly enough to tell us about, her pupils can’t be taken as a sign of sexual desire.
“During anxiety attacks, your body gets a rush of adrenaline. That adrenaline prepares your body to fight or flee, and one of the ways it does that is by dilating your pupils.”
While she’s sitting there, he decides to squeeze an exposed erogenous zone. It’s a way to make the rush of fear-induced adrenaline feel like a sexual response, since sex also brings on adrenaline.
“So you decided on some exercise?” My fingers trace the soft shell of her ear. With great care, I tug and squeeze the plump skin of her earlobe. She’s not wearing earrings, though she does have pierced ears. I wonder what a diamond would look like twinkling there. I ask her why she’s been exercising, keeping my voice low. Her breathing quickens.
“I needed time to think,” she says.
“Think about what, Anastasia?”
“And you decided that it was nice knowing me? Do you mean knowing me in the biblical sense?”
It’s manipulation. I am convinced that the only people who don’t see this are people who don’t want to see it.
She tells him plainly that she needs time to think.
Fuck what she wants. He wants something else, and because he doesn’t care jack about her, he’s going to get what he wants.
“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.” The challenge is there in my voice, and now between us. Her mouth drops open in surprise, but I glide my fingers to her chin and coax it closed. “What do you say to that, Miss Steele?” I whisper, as we stare at each other.”
“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.”
“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.”
“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.”
“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.”
He just admitted his plan is to have sex with someone he thinks broke up with him.
This. Is. RAPE. She said no. Her actions since he arrived still say no. She just said she needs time. THIS IS RAPE.
I’m sure that some people who’ve read this book have forgotten or “misremembered” the scene through Ana’s eyes. I want to share that here, before continuing with this recap. Presented, without commentary, to show that her thoughts about escape, and that she’s scared:
I don’t know why I glance up, maybe I catch a slight movement from the corner of my eye, I don’t know, but when I do, he’s standing in the doorway of my bedroom watching me intently. He’s wearing his grey flannel pants and a white linen shirt, gently twirling his car keys. I pull my ear buds out and freeze. Fuck!
“Good evening, Anastasia.” His voice is cool, his expression completely guarded and unreadable. The capacity to speak deserts me. Damn Kate for letting him in here with no warning. Vaguely, I’m aware that I’m still in my sweats, un-showered, yucky, and he’s just gloriously yummy, his pants doing that hanging from the hips thing, and what’s more, he’s here in my bedroom.
“I felt that your email warranted a reply in person,” he explains dryly.
I open my mouth and then close it again, twice. The joke is on me. Never in this or any alternative universe did I expect him to drop everything and turn up here.
“May I sit?” he asks, his eyes now dancing with humor – thank heavens – maybe he’ll see the funny side?
I nod. The power of speech remains elusive. Christian Grey is sitting on my bed.
“I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” he says.
I glance around it, plotting an escape route, no – there’s still only the door or window. My room is functional but cozy – sparse white wicker furniture and a white iron double bed with a patchwork quilt, made by my mother when she was in her folksy American quilting phase. It’s all pale blue and cream.
“It’s very serene and peaceful in here,” he murmurs. Not at the moment… not with you here.
Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose, I breathe. “How… ?”
He smiles at me.
“I’m still at the Heathman.”
I know that.
“Would you like a drink?” Politeness wins out over everything else I’d like to say.
“No, thank you, Anastasia.” He smiles a dazzling, crooked smile, his head cocked slightly to one side.
Well, I might need one.
“So, it was nice knowing me?”
Holy cow, is he offended? I stare down at my fingers. How am I going to dig myself out of this? If I tell him it was a joke, I don’t think he’ll be impressed.
Ana lunches at him in both versions, again clearly the result of her emotions and physical responses to fear being expertly manipulated.
It’s VERY important for me to say this right now:
There’s a small sign that James has at least paid attention to one bit of criticism. Non-fans have pointed out how Grey tied her up quickly and without consent. Ana tells us, “He moves so quickly, sitting astride me as he fastens my wrists together, but this time, he ties the other end of the tie to one of the spokes of my white iron headboard.”
The lack of consent is clear. It happened so fast that she didn’t have time to respond at all. She didn’t participate. It just happened. But in this book:
From the back pocket of my pants I extract the tie so she can see it, then sit astride her and, taking both of her offered wrists, bind her to one of the iron spindles of her bedstead.
Suddenly Ana “offered” her wrists to be tied. James just deviated from her own canon to try making this scene more acceptable. That’s a change that was in the movie as well, clearly to try softening the visual rape in this scene, and to try making it a mutual thing, even though it’s not.
She wriggles beneath me, testing her bindings, but the tie holds fast. She’s not escaping. “That’s better.” I smile with relief because I have her where I want her.
We know, Grey. You have her where she was going to end up, no matter what.
He starts to undress her, starting with her shoes. SHE VERBALLY SAYS NO.
SHE SAYS NO.
He tells us that she can’t possibly be anything but worried about being sweaty, but it doesn’t bother him, so why should it bother her? Because the only feelings she’s allowed to have at the ones he approves of. He tells her:
“If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet, too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you. Keep quiet. Katherine is probably outside listening right now.”
She stops. And I know that my instincts are right. She’s worried about her feet.
Not only is he wrong (Ana tells us, “Gag me! Kate! I shut up.“), but it doesn’t matter.
SHE SAID NO.
A small detail that stuck out in both books is that Grey moves the quilt out from underneath Ana in both books, so that it won’t get messed up. This is out of character for Grey, and so leads me to think that the quilt James had in mind may be one she owns that is sentimental.
He gets undressed, and ruins one of her shirts by stretching it out over her head without removing it. Without getting dressed, he heads to the kitchen and startles Kate. This is another rage-inducing scene.
Kavanagh looks up from where she’s sitting on the sofa, reading, and her eyebrows rise in surprise. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a shirtless man, Kavanagh, because I won’t believe you. “Kate, where would I find glasses, ice, and a corkscrew?” I ask, ignoring her scandalized expression.
Slut-shaming aside, it’s pretty damned rude to walk around someone else’s home primed for sex.
“Um. In the kitchen. I’ll get them for you. Where’s Ana?”
Ah, some concern for her friend. Good.
Do you know who has no concern for Ana? GREY. He really isn’t one to chastise anyone about their concern for Ana, whether snarkily or otherwise.
“She’s a little tied up at the moment, but she wants a drink.” I grab the bottle of chardonnay.
He’s just presuming Ana wants a drink.
“We still have to pack in here. You know Elliot is helping us move.” Her tone is critical.
“Is he?” I sound uninterested as I open the wine. “Just put the ice in the glasses.” With my chin I indicate two glasses. “It’s a chardonnay. It’ll be more drinkable with the ice.”
Typical Grey. Just ordering a woman around. Also, I love Kate in this scene.
“I figured you for a red-wine kind of guy,” she says, when I pour the wine. “Are you going to come and help Ana with the move?” Her eyes flash. She’s challenging me.
Good job, Kate! He deserves to be called out. But this will lead to him admitting something.
Shut her down now, Grey.
“No. I can’t.” My voice is clipped, because she’s pissing me off, trying to make me feel guilty. Her lips thin, and I turn around to leave the kitchen, but not before I catch the disapproval in her face.
Fuck off, Kavanagh.
She has EVERY reason to disapprove.
No way am I going to help. Ana and I don’t have that kind of relationship. Besides, I can’t spare the time.
I’m undecided on which part of that is the worst, his lying about not having time when he has plenty time to stalk Ana, or him “not having that kind of relationship” to help people. I think the latter. Not only does he think helping someone involves “that kind of relationship” (I guess I’m doing the friend-thing wrong since I try to help people even without “that kind of relationship”), but he knows, HE KNOWS, Ana wants more than just a casual sex fling.
He heads back into Ana’s room, and takes a sip of wine, which he spits into her mouth without warning. Now I m not bothered by one person taking a sip to pass to another person. We swap spit with we French kiss, right? What does bother me is the lack of a warning. If she had been inhaling, that could have ended badly.
He gives her two sips.
“Let’s not go too far; we know your capacity for alcohol is limited, Anastasia.”
That makes his use of alcohol the first night of sex that much worse. He knows she’s a light-weight, yet gave her several glasses.
“Whining and panting beneath me, she’s tensing but managing to stay still. “If you spill the wine, I won’t let you come,” I warn.
“Oh. Please. Christian. Sir. Please,” she begs.
Oh, to hear her use those words.
This is not a “no.”
Right after he threatened to punish her. Again, he operates on “no no means ‘yes,'” despite the time she told him NO. He’s selectively deaf, I supposes.
“Oh, baby,” I whisper with reverence. She’s wet. Very wet.
See. See how nice this is?
His constant hammering on the word “nice” really shows that this is all about being vindictive because he’s still offended that she sent him an email saying it’s over and was “nice” knowing him.
“Shall I fuck you this way, or this way, or this way? There’s an endless choice,” I murmur.
What way, or what way, or what way? We are neither shown nor told the options, though it’s clear that the one acceptable way, which is to NOT, isn’t on the table.
“How nice is this?” I ask, as I wrap my fist around my erection.
“I meant it as a joke,” she whimpers.
Thank. The. Lord.
While we know she did mean it as a joke, Grey really can’t know that. He’s intimidating and sexually tormenting her. In this sort of situation, it isn’t uncommon for someone to say whatever she thinks will make things easier for her.
I once told my ex, the one who raped me for years, that I didn’t mean it when I said “no” earlier, just because I was too scared of what was going to happen if he thought I means it. So I told him I didn’t mean it, even though I did, just to make him less mad about it.
He shoves himself into her, they both orgasm, and he still sounds angry.
“How nice was that?” I hiss against her ear as I draw air into my lungs.
He can’t get over it.
She tells him she’s still considering the contract, though she really should be counting down the time until she can call the police. His former Domme comes up, his mother’s friend who had a years-long fling with him starting in his teen years. He said he’d tell Elena that Ana called her Mrs. Robinson.
“You still talk to her regularly?” Her voice is high-pitched with shock and indignation.
“Yes.” Why’s that such a big deal?
“I see.” Now her voice is clipped. She’s mad? Why? I don’t understand. “So you have someone you can discuss your alternative lifestyle with, but I’m not allowed.” Her tone is petulant, but once again she’s calling me out on my shit.
She’s calling you out on your hypocrisy, you fuckwad.
“I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it like that. Mrs. Robinson is part of that lifestyle. I told you, she’s a good friend now. If you’d like, I can introduce you to one of my former subs. You could talk to her.”
“Is this your idea of a joke?” she demands.
“No, Anastasia.” I’m surprised by her vehemence and shake my head to reinforce my denial. It’s perfectly normal for a submissive to check with exes that their new Dominant knows what he’s doing.
Except she’s not a sub, and he shouldn’t be forcing her to only talk to people he’s controlled. While it may be typical to research a Dom by talking to former subs, a sub should be able to freely seek out other info. Remember, Ana still needed someone to talk to about “the mechanics” of sex.
And as well see with former-sub Leila, he’s left at least one mentally scarred, and physically harmed at least one more, though we never get much info on how.
“No—I’ll do this on my own, thank you very much,” she insists, and reaches for her comforter and quilt, pulling them up to her chin.
What? She’s upset?
“Anastasia, I…I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“I’m not offended. I’m appalled.”
“I don’t want to talk to one of your ex-girlfriends, slave, sub, whatever you call them.”
She has EVERY RIGHT to be mad about this. And he genuinely can’t see how he’s wrong.
“Anastasia Steele, are you jealous?” I sound bewildered…because I am. She flushes beet red, and I know I’ve found the root of her problem. How the hell can she be jealous?
Sweetheart, I had a life before you.
A very active life.
She could be jealous, or she could be, y’know, pissed off that he’s trying to control her access to info.
“Are you staying?” she snaps.
What? Of course not. “I have a breakfast meeting tomorrow at The Heathman. Besides, I told you, I don’t sleep with girlfriends, slaves, subs, or anyone. Friday and Saturday were exceptions. It won’t happen again.”
He did that just to emotionally stab at her. He knows she wants more, he just manipulated the hell out of her, knows her emotions are heightened, and decided to stab her with that.
She presses her lips together with her stubborn expression. “Well, I’m tired now,” she says.
Emotionally, more than anything. if she was a sub, what he’s doing now would be known as a sub-drop, and he’d need to provide after-care to help her through it. Since he’s an abuser, not a Dom, Ana won’t get this care.
“Are you kicking me out?”
This is not how this is supposed to go.
What the hell?
Disarmed again, by Miss Steele. “Well, that’s another first,” I mutter.
Kicked out. I can’t believe it.
Can’t blame her for kicking him out. Think he’ll talk to Kate on the way out about making sure Ana’s okay?
“So nothing you want to discuss now? About the contract?” I ask, as an excuse to prolong my stay.”
“No,” she grunts. Her petulance is irritating, and were she truly mine, it would not be tolerated.
Shut up, Grey. Get the hell out.
“God, I’d like to give you a good hiding. You’d feel a lot better, and so would I,” I tell her.
“You can’t say things like that. I haven’t signed anything yet.” Her eyes flash with defiance.
Get out, Grey. It’s clear she wants you GONE.
Oh, baby, I can say it. I just can’t do it. Not until you let me. “A man can dream, Anastasia. Wednesday?” I still want this. Why, though, I don’t know; she’s so difficult. I give her a brief kiss.
“Wednesday,” she agrees, and I’m relieved once again. “I’ll see you out,” she adds, her tone softer. “If you give me a minute.” She pushes me off the bed and pulls on her T-shirt. “Please pass me my sweatpants,” she orders, pointing to them.
Wow. Miss Steele can be a bossy little thing.
Why should she say no? It’s painfully obvious he’s going to push until he gets his way. And on what planet is “Please pass me my sweatpants” being bossy? Where I come from, she’s being more than polite by not crunching his balls, and even more polite by saying “please.”
She opens the door, but she’s staring down at her hands.
What is going on here?
“You okay?” I ask, and brush her lower lip with my thumb. Perhaps she doesn’t want me to go—or perhaps she can’t wait for me to leave?
“Yes,” she says, her tone soft and subdued. I’m not sure I believe her.
What’s new? He never believes her. Just because he’s right this time, that she’s not okay, doesn’t mean he’s right all the time. He still hasn’t done anything to make sure she’ll be okay. At the least, go tell Kate Ana’s had an emotional time, and to please check on her.
“Wednesday,” I remind her. I’ll see her then. Bending down, I kiss her, and she closes her eyes. And I don’t want to go. Not with her uncertainty on my mind. I hold her head and deepen the kiss and she responds, surrendering her mouth to me.
Oh, baby, don’t give up on me. Give it a try.
When he wants nothing more, trying her emotions like this is cruel. It’s emotional abuse.
He heads back to his car, and get pissed that she didn’t wave goodbye. Seriously. He’s mad.
Shit. What just happened? No wave good-bye?
I don’t need to summarize what just happened, and he wouldn’t understand anyway.
I start the car and begin the drive back to Portland, analyzing what’s taken place between us.
She e-mailed me.
I went to her.
She threw me out before I was ready to leave.
She emailed you to break it off.
You went to rape her because you wanted sex.
You had your way.
You found out the email wasn’t serious.
You emotionally jerked her around.
She threw you out.
For the first time—well, maybe not the first time—I feel a little used, for sex.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
WHAT THE FUCK!!
HE feels used? HIM?!
I honestly don’t even know what to say to that.
I just ate an entire back of cookies after that last sentence, while trying to think about how to respond. I can’t. I can’t figure out what to say in response to him saying he feels Ana used him for sex just now.
Hell! Miss Steele is topping from the bottom, and she doesn’t even know it. And fool that I am, I’m letting her.
I have to turn this around. This soft-sell approach is messing with my head.
But I want her. I need her to sign.
Is it just the chase? Is that what’s turning me on? Or is it her?
Not only if she not topping from the bottom (he really doesn’t understand that she’s not a sub, despite acknowledging the contract), but this sort of thing shouldn’t take a hard-sell approach. If someone doesn’t want to, and you go hard-sell, you’re forcing them.
Oh. That’s right. That’s how he operates.
“Fuck, I don’t know. But I hope to find out more on Wednesday. And on a positive note, that was one hell of a nice way to spend an evening. I smirk in the rearview mirror and pull into the garage at the hotel.”
He’s still stuck in that “nice” bit.
Do you know how she spent the evening? From Fifty Shades:
I have an overwhelming urge to cry, a sad and lonely melancholy grips and tightens round my heart. Dashing back to my bedroom, I close the door and lean against it trying to rationalize my feelings. I can’t. Sliding to the floor, I put my head in my hands as my tears begin to flow.
Kate knocks gently.
“Ana?” she whispers. I open the door. She takes one look at me and throws her arms around me.
It wasn’t a nice evening for her.
But it was a nice evening for Grey, and that’s literally all that matters to him.