Open letter to Autism Advisory & Support Service: Parents of children with Autism call for cancellation of Fifty Shades fundraiser



Dear Autism Advisory & Support Service,

Collective Shout is a registered charity campaigning against the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular. We have more than 30,000 supporters around the country.

It has come to our attention that AASS is holding a screening of Fifty Shades Freed as a fundraiser for children with Autism and their families. We have heard from parents of children with Autism and related behavioural conditions who are distressed that a BDSM-themed film promoting intimate partner abuse and sexual violence is being screened to raise funds for their children.

Along with survivors, anti-violence organisations, domestic violence services and women’s refuges, we have for years spoken out against Fifty Shades of Grey and its promotion of men’s violence against women. The series romanticises domestic abuse, including threats, humiliation, isolation and stalking, as well as sexual violence. We’ve recently partnered with a global coalition of groups for a third time to raise awareness of the harmful messages being propagated by Fifty Shades of Grey.

Parents have contacted us with their concerns about this event. Some have expressed frustration that a film of this nature sends the wrong message about women to their children, undermining their efforts to teach their children appropriate behaviours, rules and social norms. Others have indicated the advertising material for this film would be distressing for their children.

Concerns have also been raised about the impact on children with Autism with backgrounds of abuse. According to the Autism Society, there is strong research evidence that children on the autism spectrum experience abuse at rates higher than the general population, with studies citing physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Psychologist Collett Smart echoed these concerns in a statement to Collective Shout: “As a psychologist and qualified teacher, with experience working with children on the Autism spectrum and those with special educational needs, I am appalled that the Autism Advisory & Support Service would consider the screening of Fifty Shades Freed as a fundraising option. Celebrating a movie like Fifty Shades sends highly confusing messages to those already vulnerable.”

Together with parents and family members of children with an ASD, we ask that you cancel this screening and select a more appropriate film.



Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation

Seija Gow *

Leah Hazelton

Rachel Kristina


Angela N

Laura Akers

Name withheld by request

Tina Sharp

Danna Grills

Name withheld by request

Name withheld by request


Collective Shout

PO Box 781

Neutral Bay NSW 2089 





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