There were two news stories this week which caught my eye and saddened my heart, the shocking pictures of TV cook and writer Nigella Lawson being held by the neck by her husband Charles Saatchi and revelations from the trial of Jeremy Forester the ex school teacher who was this week jailed for 5 and a half years for having sex with a child.
The reason these two stories engaged me so much was the muddle headed reaction, mainly from high profile men in both the media and politics’ who seem to think that the abuse of women can be explained away flippantly , one example being Nick Clegg’s remark on LBC radio that the attack on Nigella Lawson "could be fleeting thing".
I wonder if I were to grasp the leader of the Liberal Democrats neck to make my point that his comments were crass and misogynistic that he would feel the same way ….. !
Guardian blogger Roy Greenslade found himself having to explain why he was “ mortified “ that his assertion in an earlier posting on the Lawson incident in which he stated – “Many 'experts' were quick to make pronouncements about domestic violence. Am I alone in thinking this may have been a rush to judgement?" came in for so much criticism from both his colleagues and by all accounts an enraged Guardian readership.
Both these examples show a ‘ Life on Mars’ attitude to domestic violence and Womens rights in general ,which have been fought for so hard in the face of a judiciary and a legal system who historically viewed woman as second class citizens.
There is no better example of this double standard them the case of Jeremy Forester a school teacher who used his power and authority to groom under age children for his own sexual gratification.
How many comments have I heard in the media that “ If he had waited six months then it would have been legal” , again this ridiculous double standard that if a child is just a few months away from the age of consent then somehow it was ok.
If this guy had run away with a nine year old there would have been a baying mob outside the court banging on the prison van, leader writers in the red tops demanding that all male teachers of children undertake psychosexual testing prior to being employed …… oh yes, and bring back hanging..
The saddest part of the whole story is that the woman in question. (at 17 she is no longer a child in the eyes of the law) has according to the media declared her undying love for Forester ,has left the family home declaring “she will wait for him”.
If dear reader you are getting a sense that I am angry, then your perceptive self would be spot on, my anger is directed at those in society who for some reason ‘don’t get it’ or maybe at some level have an ambivalence toward the exploitation and abuse of women.
I am angry because people like Nick Clegg should have the ‘nouse’ to understand that if we do not give a consistent and firm message that abuse is wrong, then it will continue.
Most of all I am saddened by those clients I have seen who have been victims of abuse by those they gave their love and trust to, how in the therapy room they pull themselves to pieces as they try to disengage the love they had for the abuser from the reality of what happened.
How future relationships can be tarnished by the memory of what went before, most of all how feelings of shame and inadequacy can come rushing back , when reading an article in the media that somehow a woman being grabbed by the neck in public by a man can be described as a ‘fleeting thing’.