Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nigella Lawson

Everyone is talking about the photograph of chef Nigella Lawson and her husband Charles Saatchi.  The picture was taken at a London restaurant and in what seemed to be an argument her husband has his hand around her throat. Of course, there are many assumptions and although we don't know the whole/true story, I can't imagine any situation in which a man would have his hand around a woman's throat. So many people are saying it is a public display of abuse and you can only imagine what happens in private. Getting out of a situation like that isn't always as easy as everyone suggests by saying "leave now." 
     It is an almost no brainer for everyone with the opinion she should file for divorce based on this picture. However, it is a very serious issue and it unfortunately comes with a lot of considerations. If it is indeed a kind of relationship that is implied in the photograph it is very unhealthy. I will tell you from my own experience, court systems can be anything but fair. Victims of domestic violence who aren't the one financially in charge fear divorcing someone with obvious control issues. I have known many strong women who wanted out of their situation but had not worked in years, if they ever finished college or began a career to begin with, and felt they could not financially be independent enough to start over.  Not only is it very scary if the victims don't have any kind of property or assets in their name or any kind of credit history of their own, but they worry it can be used against them.
     This kind of situation is never an amicable split. The victim completely pisses off the abuser by standing up to them and they don't ever just try to get along. Victims worry the abuser, out of anger, will try to punish them. The kids are a whole other issue. Many people say that victims of domestic abuse are not being responsible by staying with someone who makes for an unhealthy environment. Well, these abusers have rights in the eyes of the courts. It is equally disappointing as disgusting that their rights are protected. These people are good at getting other people to believe their side and almost make others feel sorry for them. Sometimes these strong victims stay because as long as they are in the home with the abuser and children they have some tiny bit of feeling in control.  If they aren't with them on visitation days/weekends, they can't protect their kids.  It isn't a safe decision for the victims or the kids to stay, but custody/visitation agreements can make it scary for the victims to know they are handing their children over to a violent person. 
     There are ways to prepare and plan to protect yourself as well as your children. This link http://www.divorcenet.com/resources/child-custody/child-custody-and-domestic-violence.htm has very helpful tips.  It can still be hard to keep kids safe because with the issue of  "parent alienation" dads' rights are being protected at times more so than the kids' rights in the attempt to prevent keeping children from a parent.  Victims have to educate themselves and find help they can trust. 
     I have watched Nigella Lawson's cooking show many times and she always presents herself with class and grace. She is also a seemingly intelligent woman. At least I don't believe her children are with her current husband, but a former one. If everyone is right about this assumption, then at least she has more control where her children are concerned.  Some women are fortunate enough to have their own business and or income and if visitation isn't an issue because the spouse isn't the biological father then leaving is a bit more easy.
     Then, you get into the complicated parts of the relationship. These people don't believe they are wrong or have any kind of problem. It makes them feel better to believe it isn't their fault.  They convince themselves the other person pushes their anger to a violent point.  What is even worse is they usually succeed in making the victim believe it also.  This isn't at all true, and telling and making the victim believe it is just another form of abuse.
     There is never a time that domestic violence is acceptable.  There are many forms of abuse and a man doesn't necessarily have to lay a finger on a woman to cause her emotional, mental, and physical abuse.  It can be scary to stay but it can also be scary to leave.  One of the most sad things about this problem is women feel they are weak and that is certainly not the truth. There are many things that make leaving scary especially if a woman doesn't have a strong support system.  There are laws, organizations, and groups in place to help women, but all of those things don't erase the fear of being responsible for yourself and your children. We have to erase the fears and all the reasons women feel they have to stay.  There should only be one choice a victim should have in this situation and we have to make sure it is given to each and every one so there is no hesitation.
     It is such a good thing that domestic abuse is much more talked about today than it used to be.  It isn't such a taboo subject and women and children are being more educated in their options.  As long as there are women hiding behind closed doors, we have more to do.  There will be a lot of talk about Nigella Lawson as fans wait to see what she decides to do.  I just hope it brings about even more talk and awareness.  She will have to watch her situation played out publicly, but a lot of women are going to be watching and looking to her as an example. I hope it is a positive one.





No comments: