The director of a women's refuge is calling on people to burn copies of the smash hit erotic novel 50 Shades Of Grey, claiming it is degrading and encourages sexual violence.
While some critics have sneered at the quality of the writing, the book which features sado-masochistic sex, has become the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Author EL James has been plucked from obscurity and has made a fortune from her trilogy of novels which charter the travails of virginal Ana and the older Christian Grey.
Clare Phillipson, director of the Wearside Women In Need, is urging people to bin the book and wants to make a bonfire of them on November 5.
She said: "Our concern is not the graphic depiction of sex - this is an abusive relationship presented as a love story. It normalises abuse, degrades women and encourages sexual violence.
"There is lots of abuse in the book, not just sexual abuse. Do millions and millions of women suffer from secret self-loathing? Do they all want to be treated this badly? Some of what happens in the book, Fred West did to his victims in his cellar. I fail to see what is erotic about that."
Ms Phillipson believed if the author had been a man, the books would not have been published.
"There is emotional and sexual abuse of a 20-year-old with no sexual experience who is persuaded that being hit is good fun."
She said the way Grey hurt Ana then later made it up to her with expensive gifts and thoughtful emails was typical of a domestic abuser.
Speaking at one of the refuges it runs on Wearside, she said one victim of domestic violence who had read the book told her it left her confused: "She told me 'If this is a love story, how come it didn't feel like this when it was happening to me'."
Ms Phillipson agreed that campaigning to burn the book was controversial: "There's an assumption that Nazis are the only people who burn books. What we are saying is, this book is rubbish and we would like to reduce it to ashes. We are not burning the Bible or a political philosophy, we are burning the depiction of an abusive man as a romantic hero."
(Wearside Women In Need)