Would you have helped Nigella? (29 June 2013)

Having worked for 10 years for One World Action - unashamedly feminist and pro-women's rights - the issue of violence against women featured all too prominently, and increasingly, as the main barrier to women's equality in all spheres. In Asia, Africa and Latin America is was the core issue; and, alas, in the UK too. Whether it was physical, verbal or psychological, violence was - is - used to suppress women.

The infamous case of the Indian student who was raped and murdered on a bus raised the profile of the issue hugely; though whether it will make any fundamental difference is doubtful. But here in the UK, predicatably, it has taken celebrity involvement to get on the front pages. The issue has, of course, been fudged; but her husband's hands around Nigella Lawson's neck hardly seemed endearing.

Whatever the truth, this was an incident witnessed by many, in a very pulic space outside a restaurant. Onlookers took photos, expressed their horror - to the media - agonised about it; but no-one said anything, did anything at the time to end it, even to ask if everything was OK.

I'm sure the values held by most people would say: this is wrong. However, the bravery and courage to act on one's values, at possible risk but to address a wrong, is not easy to find. Many of my coaching clients have to face big decisions about their own lives and those of others - their partners, their children, their friends, their colleagues - and part of my role is to help them find the courage. But ultimately it comes down to them: are they willing to live against their most deeply-held values, or do they decide to start a process of change that might bring some initial damage to themselves or those they know or love.

Would you have helped Nigella?

all the best


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