Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point. Lezard on Saatchi.

Nicholas Lezard offers "tips" to Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi. I offer Nicholas Lezard some tips in return. Perfectly amicable. No need to be a "mug" as he says.

Nicholas opens his advice thus.

"The sooner the master of PR and spin shuts up and stops making things worse for everyone, the better it will be"

Ok. Worse for whom exactly?

The worst has been done to Nigella I think. She is finally free of the "worst" in her eyes. The "worst" for her was living under Saatchi. So it really seems that Saatchi shutting up is of value to other men. Perhaps because he's making them look bad? Do they feel more than slightly uncomfortable to see him behaving in such an obscene fashion. Do they perhaps feel better taking the "I'm not like him!" stance. Is that what this is about Mr Lezard? Because whilst we are all appalled by Saatchi's actions, those of us who have seen this many many times from non-high profile men are kind of able to predict exactly what his next move will be. He isn't that original. He is just being seen where many men are not. That must make you uncomfortable yes. It might make you feel like shushing them.

Saatchi is out front in the media doing what many DVA perpetrators do off camera and off front page. (though I'm not definitely saying Saatchi is one, because I need to earn my crust whilst staying out of jail) There is no clear evidence that Saatchi is an abuser. He has not been tried. He is not under arrest. Yet, strangely he follows the perpetrator script rather perfectly. Perhaps he's rehearsing for a Golden Globe winning role? After all - alleged abusers are rather the vogue at present. Woody Allen - take a bow for Hollywood.

A DVA perpetrator, (I do not state that Saatchi is) would of course run through a variety of controlling measures following a woman leaving/rejecting him. So far Saatchi (Who I do not accuse of abuse) has been through denial, excuse, apology, blaming, saying there was equal blame, insults, accusing Nigella of being a bad/unfit mother, a bad/unfit person, declaring his undying love for her, his regret, taking another lover, enlisting the children and friends to condemn her, humiliated her in front of her employers. The list goes on.

"Saatchi seethes and writhes, picking at the wound of their marriage, which has barely had time to form a scab yet, and makes damaging allegations which, contradicting as some of them do testimony delivered in court, have the capacity to damage no one but himself."

Not a lot to take issue with it might seem. The condemnation is there isn't it? Well. No. No it isn't. This assumes that Saatchi is just overreacting. The phrase "wound of their marriage" implies that it was a mutual wound. Does Saatchi have a sore nose? Throat? No? Curious. So just Nigella with the actual wounds then? Allegedly.

This also makes him seem hurt by his own actions. His image is tainted yes. Does he care? Probably not. Or he would stop. Of course an abuser (not that I'm saying Saatchi is) hasn't really got the rest of the world in mind. His gaze is only upon his victim. His aim is only to reassert control and if he cannot do that he will aim for destruction. Of course we are all watching. Following the path of some abusers who totally lose control would not be the option of a man in the public gaze. 11 women in 17 days were killed before Christmas 2013- potentially by violent partners and the campaign 'Counting Dead Women' is fighting bravely to make sure that the UK government begin to acknowledge this in statistical reporting and therefore take action.

Nigella's image however is dragged apart most days. Largely by the Daily Mail. The woman cannot even eat a bit of cake without the mail accusing her of "softening" and putting on weight. Because... you know... she's a bit "off the rails". She isn't holding up too well. She is ...gulp.... seeing friends... IN SPAIN.. and eating chocolate... and her face is a bit puffy!!!!.

I have eaten cake in Spain. It was alright. I wasn't necessarily suicidal. Nor was the cake.

But "no one but himself"? Really? NIgella is so strong that whatever new accusation he throws at her she is fine? No. She is probably not. She loved this man. Probably very deeply. She trusted him. He is attacking her image on a daily basis. Imagine what this is doing to her self-esteem? An abused woman (and I'm not saying Nigella is one) will have suffered constant attacks on her confidence during an abusive marriage. Her opinions may have been ridiculed, her achievements dismissed, her appearance derided amongst other things. She may have begun to doubt that she held any valid opinions at all. She may have been almost "brainwashed" by the abusive partner into seeing herself in a totally different way. She may have lost her sense of self.

The abusive partner will of course try to reassert this very effective control if she leaves him by continuing to attack her. Not always physically. This may no longer be an option if there is a court order, or let's say, a global media watching his every move. He will use the means at his disposal. The courts perhaps? The main stream media? Possibly. Probably.

The piece continues asserting that even ...

"the most mild-mannered of people, and I don't think even his best friends would claim that Saatchi was one of them, can lash out in pain and fury at an ex-partner if they feel they have been wronged or misrepresented."

That's ok then is it? Lashing out? If you "feel" you are wronged. Most abusive men are absolutely convinced that they have been "wronged". And what exactly is "lashing out"? This week a family in Northumbria were left devastated by a man who felt wronged and "lashed out" and a mother and beloved daughter is dead. Violent men kill women. Murder them. They don't "lash out".

This is not an accidental whirling round with a fist and suddenly connecting with the face of a loved one, as utterly unacceptable as that also is. It is not "accidentally" for a brief moment saying something a bit mean. Saatchi has gone for complete character assassination. He has searched his memories and possibly his imagination, for every possible shred of "evidence" he can find of Nigella "wronging" him. He throws it out there for the media vultures. They lap it up. Why wouldn't they. It is gold. Literally. 70p x £1.5 million. A day. For the Daily Mail. The Sun. Even more. That's a lot of reasons to listen to Saatchi. Nigella has largely stayed silent of course. Apart from court. Which he forced upon her.

Then Lezard gets to his actual tips after he has totally undermined the position of Nigella Lawson and placed her as an equal with Saatchi in a mutual contribution to the end of their marriage.

Tip 1. "Don't get lawyers involved"

Well. No actually. Do. Get the police first. But then yes, get yourself representation. You will need it. A man who has become used to controlling your every move in a Domestic Violence and Abuse situation is unlikely to respond to a polite and dignified chat. He is used to "Power Over" not power shared. He is unlikely to be reasonable, Mr Lezard may have experience of a normal breakdown of a marriage. The same rules do NOT apply in the end of an abusive relationship.

But, Lezard knows of "more than one" couple where it was really rubbish and they spent a lot of money. Ah. Right. You have divorced friends. That qualifies you then? Also, he is a "supporter of Nigella". I contend that this article makes you very much a detractor not a supporter. A supporter would firstly believe her version implicitly. Secondly, that supporter would not attempt to victim blame and this article reeks of it.

"Lawson and Saatchi have fallen spectacularly at the first hurdle" .

Unaware as she was that the media were watching his alleged assault, Nigella subsequently refused to engage with the press at all. She maintained a dignified silence and attempted to keep her mud unslung. It might be a sizeable pile of mud. Allegedly. Possibly. Until she was forced by the judicial system she declined to even defend herself against Saatchi's personal attacks.

Tip 2.

Time.

That's all it needs apparently. Time.

Victims everywhere who feel your lives are totally destroyed? Never fear. Just wait a bit longer. This makes me furious. A winter cold goes away. The fear you felt at a raised fist or voice never does. Never. Can you hear that Lezard? Never. You live in fear of that kind of control and threat pretty much forever.

You talk about Domestic Violence with a sense that it ends when the relationship does. It doesn't. Women are at risk of another similar relationship. They are also not free of the effects of a relationship just because they have left it. Stalking is common. Amongst other controlling techniques which persist.

Tip 3.

"Make nice. You don't have to be a Christian to accept that the virtues of forgiveness, acceptance and making friends of your enemies are good things. This is never more the case than when in a crisis."

After a lengthy scream. I scream again. And there is every chance I would continue screaming. This is so infuriating and shows the appalling lack of understanding or even cursory research.

Listen up Lezard. A woman in a situation of Domestic Violence and Abuse is an expert in "making nice". It is her mantra. She believes that if she does this well enough, or long enough, or in just the right way, then all will be well. She tries every possible version of "making nice". She may have sex she does not consent to or want. She may cook meals that are demanded but then thrown in her face. She will spend endless amounts of time being called names of the most vile kind whilst biting her tongue and holding back her tears. She will herd children to another room and speak or move soothingly. She is an endless fucking smiler.

Sorry. A swear word slipped out. I was trying to make nice. But, y'know. I failed a bit. When some women who are suffering in a DVA situation fail, and lose their temper... they pay. They pay dearly. Some pay with their life. But trust me. They mostly "make nice" to stay alive.

Finally...

"You don't have to make a mug of yourself"

Lezard appears to target Saatchi here. Apparently if he was quiet this would all go away and he wouldn't look a fool.

Lezard. Imagine if you were speaking to an abusive man, and I'm not saying Saatchi is one, then try telling him to grow another arm. You can wait and wait and tap the table. It ain't happening.

Meanwhile, such immeasurably badly-researched, victim-blaming journalism should surely be attacked and demonised by many many women. I do believe they are queuing up. Enjoy but next time.... don't be a mug.

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One thought on “The Tipping Point

  • Hecuba says:

    Hell hath no fury like a man whose female sexual property has dared to leave him! Am I saying this is Charles Saatchi?? Read the above article and then decide for yourselves.