Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Saatchi, A Forgiving Man?

Charles Saatchi has once again stunned me with his manipulative turn of phrase and shocking self promotion.

In an open letter to the Mail on Sunday he has announced that he's divorcing Nigella because of her failure to support him in their Scottsgate aftermath. Because SHE has failed to support HIM after he publicly throttled her during a row about her children.

Poor guy. I can see how badly she's let him down...

From the words he's used, his turn of phrase, it's clear that Saatchi is trying to absolve himself of any responsibility in the collapse of his ten year marriage to Nigella, and his open letter to his wife - who, by the way, refuses to take his calls or speak to him currently, after he ordered her to leave their home - is frightfully manipulative and will, no doubt, make Nigella feel as though she is the reason their marriage has failed.

I don't know the full ins and outs of their marriage. Nobody does but them. But I do know what the language abusers use looks like and this is it. He is let down that she hasn't supported him. He appears confused that in the past year she's begun to feel he's been a disappointment (which implies that it's her at fault, and who has changed the boundaries of their relationship, not him at fault for being a bully) and he finishes his letter by complimenting his estranged wife, implying again that he is confused by her attitude, and is a stand up good guy who loves her, and she's acting oddly, and leaving him behind, breaking his poor little heart.

The whole letter is a cutting and horribly public marketing ploy to attempt to shift the blame over to Nigella - who will no doubt believe it, if their relationship has been this manipulative right through - and he plays the victim card quite cleverly, with his confusion and apparent sadness at the way his marriage has come to an end.

In publishing this letter Saatchi has attempted to push Nigella into the position of the bad guy who has toyed with him, dropped him, and who has been more concerned with her PR and public image than their marriage. Which is sickening, and wholly unjustified, not to mention hypocritical coming from a man who has communicated every step of this furor in the public eye.

Not only does he still insist that the scenes photographed in Scotts that day were not violent (which, no matter how much pressure you apply, is a blatant lie when you grab someone by the throat to emphasise your point) he openly admits that his visit to the police to accept a caution was a PR ploy and that he lied, and refuses to accept he did anything wrong.

He tries to say that Nigella, behind closed doors, has done the same to him and that she is a different person to the public face, where as he is honest about who he is, like a stand up guy, and that is somehow meant to excuse the fact that he assaulted his wife.

He repeatedly puts himself in the position of the victim of a media storm which has destroyed his marriage, blaming Nigella and her PR advisers for ending their marriage rather than his own actions and refusal to accept that he's at fault, or that he's done something wrong.

The whole mess is distasteful and unpleasant, and Nigella now knows that she will never be able to put the events behind her and that her public image is now that of abused wife, and her media relations will always come back to the events of the last month.

Saatchi is quite aggressive in his brushing his hands of the whole incident - including his marriage - and his transparent attempts to absolve himself display a manipulative and selfish attitude. He shows no concern about the well being of his wife of ten years, and has at no point apologised for distress caused, for his aggression or for the fallout - or for lying to the police when he accepted a caution he thinks of as a joke.

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