June 17, 2013

Give The Woman Some PRIVACY

Poor Nigella Lawson. For those who have been in a cave these past 24 hours, she was photographed by paparazzi being abused by her husband, Charles Saatchi. Actually, let me rephrase that. I am not happy with the passive tense. The paparazzi photographed Charles Saatchi abusing his wife. So Nigella was a victim in two senses. For a start, she was a victim of her husband's abuse. And for another, she was a victim of the cold, money-grubbing photographer, who stood there filming as a female person was being attacked by male.

What a world we live in.

Many women are abused by their partners and I feel for them all. And hopefully Nigella is in a better position than many, in that she will have the financial resources to support herself if she chooses to leave her spouse. So many women do not have that luxury. So many women are forced to stay in abusive relationships because they simply do not have anywhere else to go.

However, Nigella has a disadvantage that most of us can not fathom. She is a celebrity. And as someone who has recently gone through a personal crisis of my own, I cannot even imagine the nightmare of having to live out my most intimate moments in the public eye.


I used to want to be famous. Like, super famous. When I became a woefully unsuccessful child actor, my principle motivation was not the love of theatre, nor even the joy of being in front of the camera; it was the promise of having my picture in TV Week. Once that happened, I lost interest in the whole thing.

But had I kept at acting, and had I actually shown some promise, I could have been super famous by now. I could have had paparazzi following me down the street. I could have been photographed through my bedroom window, or when I was out walking on Bondi beach. And when I was young, that sounded like excellent fun.

Now, at 44, with all sorts of life experiences behind me, I am grateful that particular childhood dreams never came true. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to deal with my private dramas privately. And I feel deep sympathy for those who have to live out their traumas in the public eye.

I hope Nigella Lawson finds the space she needs away from the prying eyes of the world. And I hope the next time a photographer sees a person in need, they will rush to assist them instead of standing at the sidelines taking pictures. Compassion, people. COMPASSION.

33 comments:

  1. Compassion doesn't pay their bills. The world we live in is shit at times. Very, very shit.

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  2. I'm going to play devil's advocate here - and I'm expecting to be shot down in flames - but here goes...

    *deep breath*

    I totally agree with you about the paparazzi - but that photo of Nigella showing the shock on her face immediately after the incident was so powerful - I truly believe that image will become iconic - there's no way you can look at that photo and dismiss domestic violence as being inconsequential...

    As much as I hate the paparazzi, I think that one photo may do more good than bad in this case... I'm not comfortable with the idea, but if it does make some men confront their own behaviour and makes them change for the better, then maybe some good will, for once, come from what I would normally call awful (that is, the paparazzi )

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  3. I totally agree Kerri!
    Why the fuck did no-one help her!! Reports say that she was clearly being strangled and witnesses just stood by and did nothing! But clearly they could reach for their cameras and take some snaps so their arms must have been working. DISGRACEFUL.

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  4. I don't know what is wrong with some people. It's a sad reflection on our world today.

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  5. The diners and staff of the restaurant were closer to the action than the paparazzi - I would blame them first... the paparazzi would have been a long way from the action with tele-photo lenses... I'm more worried about the lack of intervention from the diners and staff than the paparazzi to be honest

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  6. I'm inclined to agree with you. My first thought was "why did no one intervene? Why did they take photos but not call the police?" Then I realised that these photos can now be used as evidence should Nigella wish to press charges.

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  7. That's true too. But they ALL should have been running to assist her.

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  8. Lana (Sharpest Pencil)June 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Actually, I think the photographer did something really good. In fact a few things...

    He showed us that not all abusers fit a certain stereotype. That you can be rich and famous and beautiful (him and her) but you still have issues. Not all abusive people look a certain way, not all abused women look a certain way

    But more importantly I believe he brought light to a situation which might enable Nigella to move on or to get support. Or for Charles to get treatment for his apparent illness - no well person treats another human like that. Maybe she needed something to help her get out

    Maybe all people that are abused need a light shone on it so that they can move out of a place of darkness.

    I think the photographer did a remarkable job - even if it wasn't his intention.

    As to the other diners who offered quotes to the newspapers but said nothing to a man TWISTING HIS WIFE'S NOSE and strangling her!......

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  9. Lana (Sharpest Pencil)June 17, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Ha! Just read your comment after I agreed with you in mine!

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  10. I would love to think you're right. But I'm not sure. Already there is victim blaming going around - 'why didn't she leave him?' etc. And men who are abusive never think they are abusive, do they? I don't know. I hope it helps. But I do feel sick about the fact that they all just stood by and watched.

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  11. That's absolutely true. I'm just not sure that is what they were thinking when they took the pics.

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  12. I agree with all of that, but I think that will be a fortunate by-product of the photographer's actions. I do not believe it was the photographer's intention. Sadly, I believe the photographer's intention was to make money.

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  13. I'm not sure it was either but I'm wanting to believe that it was.

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  14. I am by no means excusing what he did, and absolutely Nigella shouldn't put up with it and needs everyones full support, including privacy if that's of best help for her. In addition, I can MAYBE understand the value of taking photos for evidence - although I cannot understand why no one then stepped into help - that is appalling. However, before completely vilifying Charles Saachi, I wonder if there might be some other reason, for instance, could he be suffering from the earl stages of a disease such as dementia. Having had a mother in law who suffered from Alzheimers for 20+ years, I am aware that aggression can be a side effect. We fortunately never suffered aggression from Felicity, who was the most lovely person during her illness as she had been all her life, until the disease became too advance and she was essentially a vegetable. Her reaction was to become very uncertain, anxious, etc. However there were many in her nursing home (after 10 years, it became too difficult to look after her at home) who were terrible to be with - I have complete sympathy for their families, the nursing staff, and in fact these individuals who were competent enough to realise what they had done afterwards. Nobody should put up with abuse, but we need to make sure we don't leap the other way before we know enough of the story (without prying either - a challenge)

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  15. Yep - I was thinking all that too...


    I know it's not fair to Nigella - to be a poster-child against domestic violence - but there's the whole "if it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone" aspect that I think will do some good... and I know it's sad that we only seem to discuss this when high profile cases occur, but at least the issue is getting attention again...


    And yes, I agree with you that the photos might hopefully get Charles to confront his demons too... again, some good might come of this...

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  16. Let's not forget their children. Imagine seeing your Mum abused like that, her pain captured on page one. And what if that was your Dad? Feeling very sad (and pissed off) for Nigella, but very very sad for the children too.

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  17. Ufnortunately we live in a world where people have becomed immuned to showing empathy or becoming involved because it is the right thing to do. We are slowly detaching from each other and that is very sad.
    I do agree that like with the Angelina Jolie story bringing breast cancer to the forefront of women's minds this will also have an impact on deomestic violence issues.
    Anyway, I certainly hope so, there are far too many women enduring violence on a daily basis and thinking there there is nothing they can do about it.

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  18. I always knew I was abusive :(


    I just didn't know how to control those feelings of inadequacy and insecurity and overcome them when I was younger... I know how to deal with those feelings now - but I guess some men never do...

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  19. An interesting post and interesting comments...I agree it is despicable that the photographer's first impulse was to snap a photo rather than go to Nigella's aid or call the authorities. He was probably lurking, camera in hand waiting to take photos and must have thought all his Christmases came at once - disgusting! I wonder if the restaurant's staff and patrons would have been more forthcoming with assistance if the pair hadn't been famous, perhaps they were intimated by this, but it's no excuse. Hopefully, this incident brings domestic violence and abuse to light in a positive way.

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  20. Definitely! I am totally shocked that no-one helped her! Who are these so called witnesses?

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  21. twopointfivekidsJune 17, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Do we know the whole story? No. Can we hear what was said? No. Do we know the intent of the actions or the emotion behind them? No. All we have is a photo. Perhaps he just admitted to cheating on her, hence the shocked look? Perhaps he was holding her chin and throat, my husband does sometimes in a loving way, a caress if you will. We had a discussion this morning about this and he held me like the photo to demonstrate - it can be done in a non-aggressive way.
    Yes, it does look damaging and it does LOOK LIKE abuse, it may be, but we dont know the real story and should not leap to conclusions.
    Just a thought.

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  22. Plenty of witnesses saw the attack, which included him choking her and pinching her nose (this was also photographed). She was also seen and photographed leaving the restaurant distressed and in tears, and has since been photographed leaving her home with her son and packed suitcases.

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  23. That's an interesting theory, though he'd be pretty young for Alzheimers....?

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  24. ABSOLUTELY. Really good point. I hadn't thought of that. x

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  25. twopointfivekidsJune 17, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Yes, it does APPEAR that he was choking her. As I mentioned, appearances can be deceiving. She may be moving out because he did something horrendous and she wont forgive him. Maybe what we "saw" was him trying to convince her to stay. It may not have been malicious. A pinch, a tweak?? Who can really say? We all know a photo can be seen in many different lights. What we saw was in interpretation and I dont think we can say exactly what was happening, however much it may seem that way and we all want to defend her. Until she speaks we should try not to assume the worst. Thats all. Not trying to pick a fight, just playing devils advocate.

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  26. I actually thought the same thing Helen. There was an article in the Sunday Style this weekend where blogger Abigail Radnor (thingsarestillfunny.wordpress.com) wrote about her father's early onset Alzheimers at the age of 49. She described the rage and behaviour changes. Nobody really knows what is going with Nigella and either way it's tragic and sad. (And also frightening that nobody came forward to assist or even ask if she was all right).

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  27. No, Felicity (MIL) was 50 when first diagnosed - early onset. Watching my husband closely (when I remember) as there is an increased risk that her kids will also have Alzheimer's (and at 45, he's not far off - but not terribly likely). So 70 would be less common but not rare (not that I work in this area - just what we've all being looking up due to family history)

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  28. However, seems even less likely that it is anything but plain abuse, following Charles Saachi's comment today - it was just a 'playful tiff' -really??' Actually, looking at Nigella's face, she didn't seem to think so. Very sad for her, and for both his and her kids.

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