The photos of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, published last Sunday (16th June) in theSunday People, have caused world-wide concern for the 54-year-old Lawson. The couple were seen at Scott's, a Mayfair restaurant they frequent, on Sunday 9th where the photographs were taken. It also happened to be Saatchi's birthday. He appears to have celebrated with a light lunch, a strop and the subsequent squeezing of his wife's throat.
In a statement made to the London Evening Standard, Saatchi claimed the photographs made the incident appear far worse than the 'playful tiff' was.
The restaurant has denied any of their staff witnessed the 'assault' yet eye-witnesses suggest Saatchi was aggressive and Lawson was 'tearful' and her voice was 'quivering'. The incident was evidently witnessed.
However, this does beg the question: why did no one intervene? At a crowded central London restaurant how could anyone have failed to notice a woman being choked? And as a number of eyewitnesses have come forward to talk about what they saw - why did not one take action?
In many respects the lack of immediate action in coming to Lawson's aid is as shocking as the act itself. According to statistic from charity, Women's Aid, in the UK, 1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic violence at some point in their lives and at least 2 women a week are killed by a current or former partner. Whilst in the US, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men, annually, are physically assaulted by an intimate partner.
Such statistics are difficult to comprehend yet they remain a fact of our societies. Lawson and Saatchi's situation should be treated as a prime example of the issues of domestic violence which are so prevalent.
To date, Lawson has remained silent on the incident.
Nigella Lawson promoting her latest book 'Nigellissma' at a book signing in Selfridges, Manchester Trafford Centre
Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson at the opening of The Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's Headquarters, London