Nigella attacked: Why everybody stopped and stared, but nobody intervened

You’re at a restaurant with your partner, enjoying a glass of wine and deep in conversation when suddenly you realise that the couple behind you are arguing. You look again, only to realise that the man actually has his hands wrapped tightly around the woman’s throat. What do you do? You have a few options. You could step away and call the police. You might inform the manager of the restaurant, or perhaps you decide to walk over to the woman and politely ask if she’s okay. What you wouldn’t do, I suspect, is do nothing at all! Well, that was exactly the approach taken by bystanders over the weekend, who simply sat there and gawped at a clearly devastated, and fearful Nigella Lawson, as her husband, Charles Saatchi wraps his hands around her throat, not once, but four times.

As a society, we’ve come to accept that photographers are entitled to snap up pictures of celebrities in uncomfortable and comprising situations, but surely this crosses a line. Taking photographs of a woman being chocked by her husband crosses a line. I’m both concerned and deeply saddened that we live in a society where we are able to witness such attacks and do nothing. That we are taught to believe that a couple is entitled to their privacy, and because of that, we must not, under any circumstance step it. I question whether witnesses would have been so keen to ignore the situation had Nigella made a cry out for help. Are we expected to read into her mind and determine if she is truly scared?

I’m almost a hundred percent certain that had the situation been different, and a women had her purse snatched, a crowd of people would have lined up to stop the thief. What makes a man attacking his wife any different? Does he somehow have some marital right that I’m not aware of? Or perhaps it comes back to this ‘that’s a private matter’ issue.

No, actually, it’s not! In a public place, a husband publicly attacked his wife, as the public stood by and allowed it to happen.

Saatchi, who seems to be living up to his memoir, disturbingly entitled ‘Be the Worst You Can Be: Life’s Too Long for Patience and Virtue’, has claimed that the fight was no more than a “playful tif”. I can’t help thinking, if this was his idea of a playful tif, what does he consider as domestic violence?

What would you have done? Would you have intervened? Let us know by leaving your comments below.

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