A very public separation

Relationship breakdowns are hard enough when you are going through them privately. I often wonder how celebrities cope. Can you imagine having a camera there to catch your lowest points and the pictures being published across the world?

Sadly this is something Nigella Lawson will be all too familiar with. The paparazzi have captured some horrible moments in her life. Two sets of publicised pictures have shown her husband, Charles Saatchi, first with his hand over her mouth and more recently placing his hands around her throat. Both of these incidents happened in public hence the world’s knowledge. It begs the question if a husband can act that way in public what happens behind closed doors?

Domestic violence in all forms affects thousands of people each year. It is a sad fact and it is even sadder for the victims who often feel they have no alternative but to stay in their abusive relationship. Thankfully often people do find the strength to leave, frequently following an event which crosses a line which even the abused person cannot tolerate. Everyone has a limit.

So what was Nigella’s limit? Maybe her private hope was that Saatchi would change or that things would get better. However there is a significant difference between her private hopes and her public persona. I read an article which suggested that perhaps her decision to leave has been guided by her public persona. The suggestion was that if she did not leave Saatchi her career would fail as she would no longer have the respect of her followers. At first it struck me as very odd that the fate of a relationship would be based on career choice. Then it occurred to me that many relationships break down for similar reasons. Why should Nigella risk the empire she has built for the sake of a relationship she may already have been unhappy in? Maybe this was Nigella’s limit.

Once the decision has been made to end the relationship what happens next? One party (usually the aggrieved person) decides to issue divorce proceedings. There is no doubt that Nigella could do so on the basis of Saatchi’s alleged behaviour. However Saatchi has released a statement indicating that he will be issuing divorce proceedings. He says that he has never been violent and Nigella’s refusal to defend him from public opinion has led to the relationship breakdown. Some cynics would say that his starting the proceedings is merely another way of exercising control over the relationship. At the end of the day no one will know the real reasons behind the relationship breakdown but I am sure that Nigella will continue to have the support of the public.

If you are suffering from domestic violence you should contact an organisation who can assist you, for example Womens Aid. You should also seek legal advice from a family solicitor. There are options open to you to help you out of abuse.