On the 16th June disturbing photographs were published of one of the nation’s favourite celebrity chef, domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson, with her husband’s hands around her throat, the domestic Goddess appearing to look frightened and distressed. These photographs had been taken whilst the couple were having lunch in a top Mayfair Restaurant where the incident is said to have been witnessed by other diners.
The Sunday tabloids described Nigella’s husband, 70 year old advertising guru Charles Saatchi, as having grabbed her around the throat during a heated discussion, first with one hand, then with both before tweaking her nose and putting both hands in her face. Onlookers have described his behaviour as intimidating and threatening. His explanation? – His actions were simply within the context of a playful tiff and had been blown out of proportion and misrepresented.
Many found this a shocking story; a window into the private life of a much loved celebrity chef who, on the face of it, appears to have it all. She is an intelligent, glamorous, successful woman, and yet, like so many, appears to have been (if these images are to be believed) the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her partner.
We have today learnt that Mr Charles Saatchi handed himself into a Police station and has accepted a caution for assaulting his wife. A caution is not a charge and does not show up on his criminal record, but it necessarily follows an admission of wrong doing.
Whatever actually happened between the couple, many will argue that this story highlights the fact that Domestic Abuse is not just the province of the less fortunate living in deprived areas. It knows no social boundaries, feeding on fear, intimidation and control. It is a disease that has infiltrated every level of society, impacting the wealthiest and the poorest among us without discrimination; it does not abide by any racial, gender or religious boundaries.
No person should be subjected to intimidation, control or physical violence within their relationship and no person has the right to inflict that behaviour on their partner or any member of their family.
It takes great courage and bravery to say’ ‘Enough is enough!’ and to walk away from such a relationship. The cost can be great but every person deserves to be treated with respect. Acknowledging that behaviour as abusive and unacceptable is the first step in recognising it is wrong. Victims of domestic abuse should not feel ashamed and responsible for provoking this behaviour in their partner. The responsibility lies fairly and squarely with the perpetrator of this behaviour. They are the only ones who can control their reactions to situations.
In the days since the photos were first published, sparked By Nigella leaving the matrimonial home, rumours have started to circulate regarding the potential breakdown of the marriage. This has in turn prompted speculation and conversation regarding the complex financial implications of a divorce.
Hartnell Chanot & Partners are the Southwest’s leading family law specialists. We provide expert advice across all areas of family law including Domestic Abuse. We have a number of highly trained and experienced lawyers on hand to make sure that you receive the best support and advice available. We are able to swiftly obtain protective orders if necessary and can signpost victims to organisations that can help overcome these issues and make a positive step forward with their lives.
If you would like to know more about Domestic Abuse you eligibility for Legal Aid or advice about who to speak to, give us a call today. We’re here to help.
Exeter: 01392 421777
Plymouth: 01752 674999
Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service: 01752 252033
Exeter, East and Mid Devon (SAFE): 01392 667144