Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Letter to E.L. James From Darkness To Light Founder Anne Lee

As I've traveled this road combating child sexual abuse, few people have impacted the journey more than Anne Lee. A true inspiration, Anne was the visionary who, in 2001, founded Darkness To Light, the non-profit based in Charleston, SC, whose mission is to educate adults to "prevent, recognize and react responsibly" to child sexual abuse. 11 years after its creation, Darkness To Light continues to educate thousands of adults each year. Authorized facilitators around the globe lead the acclaimed 2.5 hour Stewards of Children, the abuse prevention training named the Crime Prevention Program of the Year in 2007 by the National Crime Prevention Council.
Though Anne is no longer at the helm of Darkness To Light, her impassioned work to end child sexual abuse continues. Her new consulting group, Greater Good Advisors, is about to launch. In April 0f 2011, she was named a "Hero Among Us" by People Magazine.
I am thrilled to host Anne here for a guest post, a letter to "Fifty Shades of Grey" author E. L. James. I warn you now - if you do not want the hows and whys of Christian Grey revealed to you, don't read this post. For all others, Anne's words speak for themselves. As someone with an abuse background, I wasn't sure when I went to read James' first book in the trilogy if it might be triggering. But I, like so many, enjoyed the story and the relationship portrayed and, particularly, the humanity of the characters, especially Christian. He is a complex man. Anne understands that, too, and as she has many times before, she sees a teaching opportunity. Have a look. 
Thanks, and kudos, Anne Lee, for all you've done to make this world a better place for children.

Dear Ms. James,

As the founder of Darkness to Light, - the nation's only evidence-based primary prevention program educating adults about child sexual abuse, with over 5000 facilitators in 49 states and 15 countries - I want to applaud your huge success and telling the story of the "50 Shades" from the majorly important and seldom told point of view of Christian's pain and childhood trauma. Maybe one of the reasons so many resonate with "50" is that approximately 20% of all adults have sexual abuse in their history. Horrifically amazing, but true. 
My fervent hope is that as the movie is created and developed, the core issue of his abuse is not glossed over. As a consultant, I would be delighted  to work with your team.  We have an opportunity through this movie to bring the conversation of  physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect to the forefront of societal consciences. The demand for prevention and the creation of a national standard of care for our children might be made reality through efforts like yours. I know you get it. I can tell from your writing. In many ways you wrote my story - like so many others.  
May the light go before you and all that is good find its way to you.  For this huge work, I thank you. 


                                                               Anne Lee  
                                                Greater Good Advisors, LLC
                                                      672 Ellis Oaks Avenue
                                                       Charleston, SC 29412


  1. Ms Lee, your statement is brilliant. This is how I felt about E L James' novel. There is so much for people to learn from this. Unfortunately, some only see the sex, but there is so much more. I cried and laughed as I read it...even after the second reading.
    Thank God I was never a victim of this cancer that's pervasive in society. If compassionate people aren't there to help children escape, then we, as a civilization, are doomed.

    Ellie T.

  2. Guess who was in my "in box" this morning? none other than Ms. James herself! she was gracious and open to getting me in touch with her producers. thought you'd want to know :)

  3. One thing I know about you and your work, Anne: if there's a will, there's a way. Keep blazing the trail! Proud to work with you.

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