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Domestic violence is far more clear cut than Nigella-gate suggests

Charles Saatchi’s grapple with the law last week after an encounter with wife Nigella Lawson was captured by the paps has left many people pondering the questions about what exactly a picture can ever truly show. More so, though, it reignited the public discourse on domestic violence, with all manner of people weighing in and inadvertently finding themselves in hot water. 

The first issue, of photos being misleading without context, was raised by Saatchi’s version of events. The image of the art collector wrapping his hands around the throat of Lawson appears to show an indisputable act of aggression.

But this unequivocal ‘truth’ is open to interpretation, some have suggested – in what emotional context did the argument take place? How hard did he have his hands around her throat? How brief was the incident? Saatchi said it was no more than “a playful tiff”. But while these questions are unanswered by the photos, their impact upon the act itself is clear – none. 

Nick Clegg was asked about the incident on LBC radio and in his attempt to draw into the debate the context of the photo, he found himself entwined with the word “fleeting”.

He’d been speaking of the lack of context around the situation that occurred between Saatchi and Lawson at Mayfair restaurant Scott’s, not referring to the throat-grab itself, but the specifics of his use of the word were lost as he became another male playing down Saatchi’s actions. The woman’s role in the event swiftly became the follow-on focus, as downplaying the male’s actions implies the victim’s shared responsibility for the events. 

PM Cameron backed away when quizzed, saying just that “domestic violence should be condemned in the strongest terms”. Artist Tracey Emin suggested Saatchi could have been grabbing her in a joking manner not shown by the images.

However, for me, it matters not who provoked whom, how brief or not the incident was. The issues of context are largely irrelevant; such an action itself is enough. Saatchi’s acceptance last week at Charing Cross police station of a caution for assault appears to support that.

» Agree or disagree? Do you think Saatchi assaulted Lawson? letters@tntmagazine.com

 

Twitter boast lands ‘theft victim’ a caution 

When will crooks and the less-than-ethical learn what social media means? It was only a few weeks ago when a woman clipped a cyclist and then took to Twitter to relay the events, only to find people read her comments and thought it was worth investigating, landing her with a knock at the door from the police and unflattering media coverage. 

Seemingly undeterred by this, another social media sucker gave themselves away last week. An Essex man talked his way out of a penalty fare on the London Underground by telling British Transport Police his wallet had been stolen, then blabbed about his silver-tongued ways online. Needless to say, those in the know noticed, and said eejit won himself a caution. 

Social media is not like whispering to your mate in the pub. In fact, it is as much the opposite as you could possibly strive to find. Take note!

Photo: Getty


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Opinion: Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi - does a photo speak a thousand words?
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