June 20, 2013

What did she do?

I am deeply saddened with and equally disgusted at how the public approaches the 'Nigella' issue.

In case you don't live in the English speaking world (or have comfortably resided under a rock) Nigella Lawson is an extremely successful TV cook and cook book author, known for her delicious recipes and curvacious body (she's a woman after all, she has to somehow get reduced to her looks and not simply judged by her achievements).

Photos surfaced this week of her husband assaulting her in a restaurant, grabbing her by the throat and shaking her head in this violent grip. Nigella is then spotted leaving the scene with her husband, in tears.

So of course there's an uproar about this. Some of these reactions have been positive, with Domestic Violence Prevention organisations creating awareness and pointing out statistics. One in four women in Australia is a victim of domestic violence. That's also a disgusting amount of humans inflicting said violence. FYI. It's not a harmless issue.

BUT: The reactions submitted online looked somewhat like this:

"What did she do?"
"Did she provoke him?"
"Maybe it was her fault?!"
"Maybe she deserved it?!"

Notice something? Yeah man, society right away jumps on the victim-blaming and -shaming bandwagon. We wonder what SHE has done to make him THIS angry? Oh ok....well I see we're supposed to walk on egg shells around men, because their natural state is "violent and easily provoked"?


Here's the deal:
From a very young age we are taught that our actions have consequences. BUT we need to understand that we cannot be held responsible for other people's actions. Nigella cannot be held responsible for the fact that her husband chose to physically assault her. She might have said something or done something but at the end of the day it is NOT HER FAULT! He is the one who consciously raised his hand, put it around her throat, hurt and belittled her (because violence is a demonstration of power for the weak) and then claimed he was trying to "make a point" during a heated discussion through this "gesture".

It's the same type of victim-blaming we see society resort to in rape cases. We just don't blame the victims for saying something or doing something provoking, but we blame them for dressing a certain way or drinking a lot or walking home from work by themselves (How could you? Hire a personal bodyguard NOW!). Again men are portrayed in a natural state of "the potential rapist". As if a "rapist gene" existed in male brains which is aggravated by bare leg pairs, intoxication, unconsciousness and the lack of consent-giving.

I know this is bullshit. I know that every healthy human being is blessed with the ability of making choices. And I am not eating any of this victim blaming crap. No woman gets herself raped or gets herself assaulted. It's the people who inflict these acts of violence that deserve to be shamed, blamed and held responsible for their actions.

Spread the word, lovely creature.