Intimate terrorism even happens to the rich and famous

nigella lawson

The jokes have been flying around recently about Nigella (‘Higella’) Lawson and her very public court case with her ex: Charles Saatchi. As most of you will know it involves solicitous reference to drug use – I think cocaine and smoking a few refers with her grown up children. I have always said that the wealthy can afford good quality drugs. Anyway what are they going to spend their oodles of money on anyway? There has to be a limit to the number of clothes, trips and other indulgences that most of us will never see.

The other side of this story however is very different. I was really pleased to read the column by Barbara Ellen, a columnist for the Observer magazine who wrote a fantastic piece exploring the bullying that Nigella Lawson has had to contend with, through what can be best described as a public humiliation.

What piqued my interest was reference to the idea of intimate terrorism on the inside of this well healed relationship. Intimate terrorism according to Johnson is about the attempt to dominate one’s partner and exert control of the relationship. As Johnson expresses:

“Imagine, for example, the different meaning and emotional impact of an intimidating look from a nonviolent partner in a similar gesture from a partner who has already demonstrated his willingness to be violent. As the victims of intimate terrorism often report, “all he had to do was look at me that way and I would do whatever he wanted” (p323).

In essence intimate terrorism is about living with uncertainty. It is about living with not knowing when and if an act of violence will take place. It is living with the fear that maybe today is the day. As you can imagine this is an exhausting process: living on eggshells and not being able to be relaxed and comfortable within your own household.

For more detail about intimate terrorism click here

Published on Sunday, January 19th, 2014, under Family violence

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