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Vox Day on Charles Saatchi: Divorcing your wife after she’s already left you is a totally ALPHA move

Nigella-Lawson-leaving-an-address-in-Mayfair-1974856

I guess I’ll never quite understand this whole alpha thing.

Over on his Alpha Game blog, the reliably awful Vox Day is defending the ALPHA DOG honor of British art collector Charles Saatchi – you know, the guy recently in the news for choking his wife, TV chef Nigella Lawson, in a very public argument – sorry, a “playful tiff”– at a restaurant.

Lawson responded to Saatchi’s totally playful and not at all violent behavior by moving out following the incident; she’s reportedly been spotted without her wedding ring.

Saatchi, apparently recognizing that she was through with him, officially announced he was divorcing her with a whiny, self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing statement to The Daily Mail on Sunday. It read, in part:

I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way.

The row photographed at Scott’s restaurant could equally have been Nigella grasping my neck to hold my attention – as indeed she has done in the past, although not in front of Scott’s with a photographer snapping away.

I must stress again my actions were not violent. We are instinctively tactile people. Yes, my hands were around her neck, and they had been touching her arm.

Difficult as it may be to believe, for those who have seen the pictures, there was no pressure applied to her.

Having seen the pictures, I will agree that this is indeed difficult to believe.

Vox Day doesn’t seem to care if Saatchi choked Lawson in anger or just put his hands around her throat because that’s just what nice people like to do sometimes for fun when they’re eating out. He’s just blown away by what a total ALPHA DOG COOL DUDE Saatchi is for divorcing her. According to Day, the whole thing shows that

If you don’t show respect for and loyalty to an Alpha, he will wash his hands of you without thinking twice about it.

… several weeks after you move out and make clear that you want to have nothing to do with him.

Vox goes on, attributing Lawson’s refusal to publicly absolve Saatchi and back up his story about their “playful tiff” in the restaurant to … her worry about how she would appear to other women:

Lawson, instead of doing her part and presenting a united front to the media, was more concerned about how she would look to her female friends and audience if she didn’t play the poor abused victim than she was about her husband’s reputation.

In short, she made it clear her loyalties did not lie with him, but to her public image. This is the one thing a woman married to an ALPHA absolutely cannot do. The ALPHA always knows he has options, and in the absence of the one thing he absolutely demands, respect, he will not hesitate to exercise them. Once a woman shows herself to be disloyal in some manner, few Alphas are inclined to forgive or forget.

And what is true of Alphas is also true, in lesser amounts, of lower-ranking men. It appears that Lawson miscalculated and didn’t realize how important his reputation was to Saatchi. She is not the first woman to make this sort of mistake and she probably will not be the last.

I’m hard pressed to see how walking out on a narcissistic asshole who literally grabbed her by the neck during a fight in a restaurant can be seen as any kind of a mistake. But I confess I don’t fully understand how abusers, and those who make a points of defending abusers, think.

Lawson will go forward with her life and her career; Saatchi’s reputation will be stained forever by his actions at the restaurant, as it should be, and he has no one but himself to blame. I’m not sure what Vox Day’s excuse is.

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Shaun DarthBatman Day
7 years ago

No, there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with abuse victims who stay (are trapped and unable to, for a variety of reasons, get out). Here are some ways you can help, though (the rest of you feel free to add anything I may have missed).

We need a societal shift. Our society needs to stop supporting abusers and start supporting victims. And it does not. Sure, ask people and they’ll say “Of course abuse is wrong, but…” almost every time. There’s no but. We can’t allow it, and we need to call it out. Every time. That’s one.

You can let abuse victims know that you will support us in the way we need/choose/want and that you will support our decisions and when we leave, we will know that you are safe, that you will not judge or lecture or blame. You can acknowledge the abuse without telling us what to do. Just the acknowledgement, asking if we are ok or if we need anything (and don’t suggest what you think we need, we may not know what we need, but we will know that we can think about it and get back to you anytime) is a huge help, it makes us less isolated. That’s two.

Let us ask for help when we need it, when we have chosen. Let us decide the time and the place and the how. I know you sincerely want to help, but stepping in and telling us what we need is removing our autonomy and isolates us as much as our abuser does when he removes our autonomy. We will come to you when we can, when we have found a way to be safe with you, but if you step in, we can’t be safe with you. That’s three.

When we leave, we often need to leave everything. Friends, jobs, homes, pets, everything. Not every time, but often enough. Understand how hard that is, how hard it is to say goodbye to everything. We have to build completely new lives, with all new people, and all new everything. That’s a huge obstacle. We need you to consider what that means for us. That’s four.

Do you think that we don’t know what the stakes are when we are in that situation? Do you think that we can’t tell what’s happening, that we aren’t afraid every second about what he will do next? Trust me, we know what’s going on, we know what the threats are and leaving is as much (if not more) a threat as staying is. Leaving does not guarantee our safety, or the safety of our children. We need you to acknowledge that and actually consider what it means for us, and we need you to show us some damn respect. Telling us what we must do, no matter how right you think you are, is disrespectful, and we get enough disrespect from our abusers, don’t you think? That’s five.

Captain Awkward said it best about rape. “If you fought back and survived, that was the right decision. If you didn’t fight back and you survived, that was also the right decision. If you fought back or didn’t fight back and you didn’t survive, I assume you’re not reading this blog, but in case you are, that was also the right decision because the entire thing was out of your fucking hands.” We can paraphrase. “If you left and survived, that was the right decision. If you didn’t leave and you survived, that was also the right decision. If you left or didn’t leave and you didn’t survive, I assume you’re not reading this blog, but in case you are, that was also the right decision because the entire thing was out of your fucking hands.” Acknowledge how dangerous it is for us to leave. Understand that our abusers will frequently hunt us down, stalk us, attack us, murder us. Stop, just stop right now, stop telling us what we need to do to be safe when there’s no guarantee that your advice doesn’t actually endanger us more. That’s six.

Courts grant abusers custody at an alarming rate. If we have children, we can’t protect them after we leave when he gets custody/visitation. Understand that we know this, that we are facing the risk of having our children have to be around him unsupervised for long periods of time, and that this (custody and visitation) is used by our abusers to continue their abuse, and that leaving is no guarantee that we will escape from them regardless of the fact that we no longer live there. Be a societal shift; be the change we need. That’s seven.

Remember how easy it is to cast blame in the wrong direction. We have been primed by our toxic societies and cultures to blame the victim, and we believe in Invulnerablility Theory (if she leaves, she’ll be safe) to make ourselves feel safe which adds strength to our reflex to blame the victim due to our conditioning. Learn from mistakes made and remember that your mistakes harm others, not yourself, and make it harder for us to have safe places to go (even if it’s just to talk, and not to leave at that time). That’s eight.

Educate those around you. Teach them how the negative stereotypes of women (of any group, in fact) are the typical behaviours of people who are being abused, and that those behaviours are being used to justify and excuse further abuse against them. (Thank you Harriet Jay, for this: “Stereotypes exist pretty clearly to benefit the current social order, and when somebody enacts the stereotype perfectly, it becomes evidence for the stereotype, and when somebody acts in the complete opposite of the stereotype, they are exceptions and also fall into other very convenient stereotypes (dyke, fag, liberal). And most stereotypes, if you examine them closely, are full of the kind of survival habits that a person would develop were they being abused terribly, so perhaps it is not a surprise that abused populations behave in these ways, and perhaps it is not a surprise that the people who abuse them take these habits and use them as an excuse for further abuse, and that is why I am a feminist.”) That’s nine.

Teach the people around you that men who engage in Domestic Violence are far more likely to commit violent crimes than men who do not engage in Domestic Violence, up to and including mass murder. Domestic Violence is an indicator of danger to every person an abuser has contact with. That’s ten.

Donate clothing, donate food, donate money, donate time, and, if you have none of those to give, donate your voice to keeping women’s shelters open and filled with resources for those who can leave. Advertise their needs if you have a platform to do so. That’s eleven.

If we go back, it is our choice, one we have made for our own reasons, and, if we are wrong, we still need you to support us because it’s easier to leave again, knowing what we are facing, but harder to have support ifeveryone has judged us unworthy of support/help. It takes an average of seven attempts to leave an abusive relationship for good. Remember that, and remember that if you are judging us, you are not a safe person for us to get help from when we need it most. Also remember that we always face the loss of some or even all of our friends and even family when we left, and that our abusers frequently did not. Nearly everyone else forgave him before we did. That’s twelve.

Remember that we may not have financial support when we leave, and odds of that are greater if we have children; starving to death while homeless is only “better” than abuse when seen through your privilege of facing none of the above. Acknowledge how terrifying that very real possibility is for us (remember, we frequently have to leave our relationships behind, too, so it’s not like we always have people to take us in). That’s thirteen.

http://captainawkward.com/2011/02/21/rape-awkward/

http://www.fugitivus.net/2009/08/25/a-few-things-to-stop-doing-when-you-find-a-feminist-blog/

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/when-domestic-violence-becomes-a-mass-shooting/Content?oid=17004357&src=longreads

Now kindly go fuck yourself.

marci
7 years ago

Oraclenine: So sorry that people, including myself at points in my life, just don’t get it. No more throwing salt in those wounds.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
7 years ago

Also hugs for everyone.

Kittehserf
7 years ago

Marci, Shaun DarthBatman* Day – thank you both, too.

*There needs to be a costume for this. 🙂

oraclenine (@Oraclenine)

Thank you. Y’all- well, I was going to say ‘you don’t know how much your understanding and support means’, but some of you do know from bitter experience. My heart goes out to all my fellow survivors, my thanks to our defenders.

marci, no apologies needed. You’re a survivor too and I’m sorry you had to go through that especially so young. I have a no-pressure no strings attached hug here with your name on it, if you want.

A mailing list I was on years ago had a mantra. Some one would tell the list something that has happened, would share some bit of pain- a mean boss. An unfair teacher. A toxic family. An emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship. Assault. Stalkers. You know, stuff. And the answers- the support the sympathy, the offers of an open email box or couch space were all built on a basic foundation.

You Deserve To Be Fucking Cherished. You deserve to be fucking cherished says to someone in a crap situation that they still have value, are still worth loving.

And I’ll say it here, to those who shared their stories, and to those who still can’t find the words, and to the allies here because listening and believing is a gift you give,

You deserve to be fucking cherished.

marci
7 years ago

Wow thanks…welled up a bit there at my workstation, but that’s ok. Hugs back to all. You guys are so amazing.

Kittehserf
7 years ago

Shaun, that costume is the BEST!

Pear_tree
Pear_tree
7 years ago

I assumed he was saying that he would apply for a divorce that was legally her fault (rather than his or no fault). While it achieves the same thing of freeing her, it does seem an insult to make Lawson legally take the blame.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Seconding Marci — you guys ARE amazing. I have a big pile of free hugs for anyone who wants one.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

Also hugs back to everyone who really needs them.

amandajane5
7 years ago

Late to this, but I got diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer shortly before my wedding, and my ex-husband held me against the wall by the neck (while I still had the awful stitches in my recently cut open throat) because of: “Why don’t you just GET BETTER?!”

If I could will it, it would be so.

I insisted he put me on his health insurance, so that I could COBRA off of it, before I would sign the divorce papers. Once he did that he cheerfully told me that I could fire my divorce lawyer. In this sort of, look AJ, I did what you wanted! Fire your lawyer! Thank you but no, I have the same right to representation that you do.

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

“And I’ll say it here, to those who shared their stories, and to those who still can’t find the words, and to the allies here because listening and believing is a gift you give,

You deserve to be fucking cherished.”

QFT.

Ibara
Ibara
7 years ago

The real issue with Vox Day is that he actually has some influence, however meager.

mayimoktoo
mayimoktoo
7 years ago

DV – There are things I will never, ever discuss because I might leave clues. Those of you who have gotten to a place where you are strong enough to talk about it have my deepest admiration and support. Those who, like me, stay silent have the same. People who can’t understand how it works or think that getting out is just a simple decision (“Just pick up the phone, right?”) have my deepest envy. I’d give anything to be that naive again. Although I hope I would still manage to be compassionate.

SittieKitty
7 years ago

Ugh, girlscientist, that list hits me where it hurts… 🙁

Want to throw my voice in with admiration for everyone else who has encountered that shit.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

I have a friend – she is tall, stunning looking, confident, both very intelligent and very physical – a keen rugby player. A whiles ago, she confided in me that, in college, she was abused by her then boyfriend. She described how he reduced her to nothing in her own eyes and how she only got out because of the best of friends who were there for her.

That was the day I realised it can be done to anyone. And no one deserves it, nothing justifies it.

girlscientist
girlscientist
7 years ago

@SittieKitty: Sorry about that. I have two very dear friends who I have no doubt are currently in abusive relationships. This list helps me empathize with them on days when I feel like making them hourlong Powerpoint presentations on how their partners suck and should be hurled into space with great velocity. They’re both wonderful people who deserve to be cherished and who have so much to offer, except that two mediocre, self-satisfied, whiny, violent and scary people have bamboozled them into catering to their every whim.

SittieKitty
7 years ago

girlscientist, naw, it’s okay, I just got stuck with AssholeFiles being an ass this weekend and the list didn’t help :/ But I’m alright-ish 🙂 I like that “you deserve to be cherished” thing, it’s so true. And I’m sad to hear your friends are going through that, it sucks to watch and wonder if there’s anything more you should be doing.

pecunium
7 years ago

Argenti: Let’s just say that he’d worn out all welcome. And yes, I was willing to put one through his lungs, from 10 feet away.

There’s a reason he never came back.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

That would deter him from coming back, yes…

Come play with Pell!

Hrovitnir
7 years ago

Hi Dee! Feel most welcome. Yay for many beasties. ^_^

Hugs for all the abusive survivors here (that want them). Having grown up with it, I have difficulty having any time for people’s lack of understanding, even though I know it’s not necessarily intuitive. It just makes me so angry.

Dvärghundspossen | July 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm
Staying with an abuser does not prove that one is weak or unintelligent. I’ve seen feminists speak out about their previous abusive relationships and how they felt so terribly ashamed of being abused, since they were supposed to be strong and intelligent and feminist – let’s not add to that shame, shall we?

x 1 million. Perfect.

katz
7 years ago

I hope I don’t seem insensitive because I haven’t really chimed in in this thread. All your stories break my heart and I don’t really know what to say.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
7 years ago

katz…not knowing what to say is not insensitive. Saying the wrong thing is. Don’t worry about it, you’re silence is fine.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: katz

Yeah, it’s okay. I mean hell, sometimes I don’t know how to say it either… or tell it.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

http://badmenproject.com/posts/201303/serious-question-about-chris-brown-rhianna-debacles
Regarding people who stays with their abuser… this post was a clever one!