Nigella Choked

Nigella Lawson is one of my favorite chefs especially when it comes to her easy and lazy recipes that allows one to enjoy a sumptuous meal made without much effort. However what made her stand out among all the chefs I admire, is the fact that she managed to have it all- marriage, kids and career. Essentially the whole package.

Hence the latest domestic abuse (or should I say violence) episode left me deeply shocked. It opened my eyes to the fact that women in the West still put up with domestic violence despite living in a society that is far less prejudiced in comparison to the patriarchal entrenched society in the East. More than that, it shocked me into acceptance that domestic violence in its attitude is unbiased. It sees no caste, creed, race, class or ethnicity. It can pervade your home even while you are cocooned in financial bliss with a wide diaspora of fans from across the world.

Having seen the pictures of Nigella being choked, splashed in various forms of media, my heart goes out to her in the most difficult of times. I wonder how she is coping with the attention this incident has drawn from across the world. Being a celebrity might be tough enough, added to that is having to substantiate each decision you take no matter how personal it might be. Hence I personally feel that even though she should take a stand against the violence and abuse meted out to her, the decision to do so should be purely and solely be hers. Nigella, must not at any point of time be pressurized into taking a stand against domestic violence and abuse just because she is a celebrity and has been endowed with the responsibility of having to set an example.

Taking a stand against domestic abuse and violence must be a personal decision and never enforced on another person. Breaking a relationship which holds high value will anyway rack the person with self doubt, hence it is best not to aggravate this further by making the person wonder, ‘what if I had never paid any heed to X, Y, Z’s advice?’. Moreover an independent decision is more likely to sustain in comparison to an enforced one, however right the latter might be. So celebrity or otherwise let the decision remain independent as you provide support and unbiased advice to the victim.

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8 comments on “Nigella Choked

  1. Glad you wrote about Nigella. It has been upsetting to see a woman as succesful and confident as Nigella being publicly abused. Although her husband explained it was just a tiff and no violence was involved – it could be that the media have gotten above themselves, yet again.
    What the incident HAS done is draw attention to the fact that abuse could be part of anybody’s life. My sister, who lives in Germany, tells me often, that it isn’t only Indian men who are abusive. Yes, it is a world wide phenomenon. The only way to stop it is to empower women and as a woman oneself to be very strong emotionally.

    • The reply given by Nigella’s husband is typical of every abuser and as I have mentioned earlier the cycle of abuse is the same almost everywhere. Previously I thought that women in the West especially those who are financially independent will choose to walk out of an abusive relationship since their society, unlike India’s, does not look down upon this. However this incident opened my eyes to the fact that apart from domestic violence being all pervasive, education and financial well being has nothing to do with the courage to walk away from an abusive relationship.

  2. […] don’t know is that psychological abuse is just as common and much harder to recognize. And yes, domestic violence happens outside India too. Even a woman as successful and confident as Nigella Lawson isn’t safe […]

  3. I agree that she should not be pressured to make a public stand simply because of her position. However, I believe that the police did the right thing in questioning the husband even though no complaint had been filed by her. Their motive is to crack down on abuse, knowing that sometimes victims are too caught up in the strangling hold (excuse the pun) of the relationship to actually make a complaint.
    Whether or not the victim makes a complaint or takes a stand, as a society we must all speak out ‘this type of behaviour is not good enough’.

    • Sorry for the late reply, I missed your comment earlier. You are absolutely right, the society must stand up against the perpetrators of violence and abuse. That was reinforced quite well in my own case where the society castigated me rather than standing up against my ex and his family. Unfortunately due to this apathetic attitude of the society the cycle of abuse continues in some other form. The support from society can also help many victims take a courageous stand against their abusers. One cannot ignore the greater role society can play in such situations. I hope people collectively, in every country realize this soon.

  4. reocochran says:

    After working in a battered women’s shelter as a Child Advocate, I could tell you that there is a wide range of women who are abused. Across all income and status levels, the part that is challenging is to not let them have contact for over 24 hours. NO phones, so by then, they will hopefully not go back. We had a rule, no third time visitors, either. It is like jail, recidivism happens so much we have to save space for ones who really want to stay away. I only could handle it for 18 months, 150 children to watch over and take their side, working closely with social services.
    I wrote of 2 actual horribly dangerous situations that I was in just from being in that position on one of my posts, too. (Standing next to a woman who was shot 3-4 times in her head while on the courthouse steps in Logan, Ohio. My family and friends wrote all the Ohio city papers about how a judge made her come out of safe hiding to appear in court as being “in contempt of court by prohibiting her husband, an alleged abuser, overnight visitation!” (1986 when I guess judges still thought women were ‘chattel.’)
    I am shocked at Nigella’s husband’s response. I expect more of her, hope she will not defend his hand across her throat nor his humiliating actions towards her! Great conversation starter!

    • Nigella’s husband’s response is classic of an abuser. If newspaper reports are to be believed the couple hosted dinner parties together after the the incident and she apparently left the house only when the photos were published.
      I can only imagine the horror and trauma you would have gone through helping the victims in the shelter and I admire your courage for the same. Crude as it might sound, you can take solace in the fact that the shooting incident happened in USA in 1986 and things have improved since then; in India incidents like those are commonplace.The latest reported was in the national capital in 2013. We have no system of witness protection or safety hiding for victims of crimes, instead we are regularly told to go back to the abusive partner’s home and cohabit. If you go through my previous posts I was also not spared from this attitude.
      Horrifying as it sounds, it is unfortunately true.

  5. reocochran says:

    I think I have commented before on your being brave and working outside the unsupportive framework of India’s systems. I will check back, because regardless I did read a lot of your past posts! I am so sorry that you had to go through such pain and then, having nowhere to turn!

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