Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Letter of Complaint to the Guardian re: Chris Huhne

I am extremely concerned about the publication of the recent comment is free post by Chris Huhne entitled “Yes I was guilty, but I was prosecuted on the basis of Constance Briscoe's deception” The piece itself contains several malicious statements that are, frankly, bordering on libel. It is also a checklist on how to spot a man who is controlling and abusive. What you have done is publish a man minimizing his own responsibility for committing a crime whilst blaming the women around him. It is, flat out, one of the most irresponsible pieces of journalism, and I use that term loosely, I have ever come across.


1. Huhne’s inference that Briscoe must be lying about her experience of abuse as a child because her siblings did not experience it is a deliberate smear, which fails to understand the reality of child abuse. It is not uncommon for only one child in a family to be targeted as a victim of abuse by a violent, controlling parent. To infer that Briscoe is lying about her experience of child abuse is disgraceful, particularly when Briscoe has already been involved in a court case where the judgment was in her favor. Labeling a survivor of child abuse a liar is disgraceful.


2. Chris Huhne is guilty of the crime he committed. He lied, repeatedly, about committing the crime and used his wife to support his lie. Above all, Chris Huhne committed the crime of which he was accused and engaged in a deliberate cover-up of said crime. Allowing him a platform in which to erase his responsibility is neither in support of justice or news.


3. It is not uncommon within a relationship for a controlling partner to force their spouse to lie on their behalf. These are the types of statements a practitioner in the field of domestic violence would be looking for as a red flag.


4. Huhne’s suggestion that Briscoe’s past prosecutions when working for the CPS may be unsafe is also vindictive. His accusation of professional misconduct is, potentially, libelous.


The following are a list of signs of domestic violence. Chris Huhne’s article contains a number of red flags from the signs below:


  • Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening
  • Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.


  • Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework.
  • Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements.
  • Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
  • Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public.
  • Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children.
  • Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don't want to have sex, any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.
  • Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling.
  • Denial: saying the abuse doesn't happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.


You appear to have published an article from an abusive man attacking two women. What they did was criminal, but so too was Huhne and giving him a platform to air his views is whitewashing Huhne’s crime. This is the type of shoddy journalism associated with the Daily Mail, not the Guardian.


Louise Pennington

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One thought on “Letter of Complaint to the Guardian re: Chris Huhne

  • JKL says:

    This really is a worrying trend on the part of EVB to start going after articles like this. Chris Huhne really hasn’t done anything illegal in this article, and to want to shut it down is pure censorship.

    Quite bizarrely in this case I can’t see why you’d want to prevent this article being published either. It’s quite perplexing why Huhne wrote the article or published it because the effect generally has been to confirm he’s a total misogynistic shit and effectively shut down any slight chance he may have had of a political comeback. This is a classic case of give a man enough rope… Huhne hasn’t just hung himself, but sent out invitations to the event and set up grandstands too.

    There’s a certain amount of implicit excusing going on for the women here too which I don’t think is at all wise. None of the three players in drama come across as anything other than pretty horrible human beings, and whilst, despite it being rejected in court, Vicky Price’s coercion defence does give one pause for thought (if only for long enough to agree with the jury), Briscoe certainly wasn’t coerced and was convicted for attempting to pervert the course of justice on three counts. It’s pretty clear that all three players in this drama are primarily victims of their own flawed characters and actions, and if they want to parade them further in the press then they should be allowed to do so.