I don’t have language bad enough to describe Charles Saatchi, the abuser and art collector who is divorcing his wife, Nigella Lawson, in part because he is “disappointed that she was advised to make no public statement to explain that […] [he] has never abused her physically in any way“. In other words, that she had enough self-respect not to make a statement lying to her children and to the public, after we’ve all seen the pictures. Of him abusing her, physically, in a particularly nasty way.
I struggle to get through this post without obscenity and all caps. I am aware that Saatchi has only been cautioned for domestic abuse. I would nevertheless be delighted if the words “Wife-choker” appeared in front of Saatchi’s name, every time he is mentioned in print or by broadcasters, for the rest of earthly time. I’m also reminded of the moment in the Forsyte Saga when Winifred Dartie tells her worthless husband “Monty, you are the limit” and it’s so offensive he pushes off to South America for years and years. Nothing else from that era would improve the situation now, but – if only it were so easy to make (wife-choker) Charles Saatchi disappear. At least until Lawson and her children have completely rebuilt their lives.
Also: since some people remain unclear, here is the definitive statement as to What You Should Do If You See A Man Assaulting A Woman (assuming you do not have incontrovertible first-person evidence the woman doesn’t want you to interfere, AND that knowledge outweighs the immediate danger in which she’s in):
Go over and try to stop him, then call the police. IF that would be too dangerous, or take too long, just call the police. If you can do so safely, take a picture of the abuse/aftermath and immediately make it available to the authorities. Not anyone else. And especially not Twitter.
Saatchi’s long posed as a terrible man – hence his book, entitled Be The Worst You Can Be. If only we’d taken the pose more seriously.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.