Friday, 23 September 2016

The Reward for an All-Star Image? Let's #RecollectNicole!

Out of the media and public obsession with O.J. Simpson, the only thing we know for sure is that there was domestic violence. And that violence, all other allegations aside, cuts across all racial and ethnic lines.

In the case of O.J. Simpson, who was skillfully packaged, merchandised and sold by handlers, it probably was easy to escape dealing with internal concerns because he reaped such high rewards for his all-star image.

No, I'm not relieving Simpson of the responsibility for dealing with his internal problems. But if an athlete or movie star or media star is put on a pedestal by an admiring public, it becomes easier to avoid confronting problems and dealing with him or herself.

Men such as Simpson, who appear to have achieved so much, are particularly at risk to the dangers of self-delusion. According to the information that has emerged so far, Simpson never faced the emotional difficulties behind his wife battering and didn't get the counseling he needed.

After an incident in 1989 that eventually landed him in court, he was described as being arrogant, saying  when police arrived at his home: "This is a family affair."

Later sentenced to community service, he said he'd already done more community service than most people in the courtroom.

Since he was not willing to look within, it was not too difficult for his "cruel inner voice" to bring him down. Failing to deal with character issues makes us deaf to this voice.

To see the Simpson case only in terns of an alleged heinous crime by a famous man, only in terms of the fickleness of fame, is to veil the mirror it presents for us to take a deeper look at our society - and ourselves.

Dorothy Gilliam
President of the National Association of Black Journalists
Ebony Magazine

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Oh Pffff! He Can't Be Doing Her Any Harm! Recollecting Nicole Brown Simpson...

Almost from the day she and O.J. met in 1977, friends had cautioned Nicole about his rough treatment. 

She was 18, three weeks out of high school and working as a cocktail waitress at the Daisy, a Beverly Hills restaurant. He was 29, a married father of two, with a three-year $2.5 million contract as the star running back for the Buffalo Bills.

After their first date, according to Sheila Weller, author of Raging Heart, a chronicle of the Simpsons' marriage that was written with the cooperation of the Brown family, Nicole arrived at the apartment she shared with a platonic friend, David LeBon with the zipper of her jeans ripped open and the button torn off. Alarmed, LeBon asked what happened. O.J., Nicole said, had ripped her pants in his impatience to make love. "No, wait David," said Nicole, as LeBon angrily paced their apartment. "I like him."

The mistreatment escalated during their first year together. One day Nicole found a strange earring in her bed. According to a journal chronicling abuse that she gave to her divorce lawyer, when she accused O.J. of being unfaithful, he threw her against the walls of their apartment, then tossed all her clothes out the window.

"I knew about that incident," says a friend of Nicole's "That type of thing happened a number of times." Still, the friend wasn't concerned for Nicole's well-being; like others, she simply couldn't imagine the smooth-talking, gracious sports hero beating up a woman.

According to abuse expert Joan Farr (director of Metro-Dade Family and Victim Services in Miami), upscale batterers often take refuge behind their public image. "People see the image, and they don't think that these people have a mean, ugly, abusive side."

Simpson, says Nicole's friend, "had a great sense of humor and wonderful charm. It was easy to think, 'Oh, pffff, he can't be doing her any harm.'"

Today the Brown family believes that O.J. not only beat Nicole, he murdered her. But in the weeks just after O.J.'s arrest, they contended that Nicole was not a battered woman.

Richard Gelles, director of the Family Violence Research Program at the University of Rhode Island, attributes this apparent blind spot to what he calls "the Burning Bed phenomenon" - named for a 1984 TV movie about a battered wife. "To be recognized as a battered woman at risk," he says, "you have to look the way Farrah Fawcett looked in that movie. You have to be covered with black-and-blue marks and be ferociously beaten. Nicole's family and friends very seldom - and most of them never - saw strong physical evidence, as she apparently hid it very well with makeup."

Her extraordinary physical presence may, in a tragic paradox, have been among Nicole's fatal weaknesses.

"She was very tough, very powerful," says her friend Candace Garvey, wife of former baseball star Steve Garvey. "When she walked into a room, every head would turn."

One neighbor recalls a scorching day when Nicole was wearing a heavy shawl. "The shawl slipped, and I saw faint bruises on her right arm," he says. "She said she'd been knocking around with the kids and things got a little rough." The neighbor was aware of O.J.'s jealous rages, but he immediately dismissed the notion of physical abuse. "She was a ballsy woman." he says. "You couldn't imagine that she's take that stuff."

But in September 1986, Nicole came to the attention of someone who could - and did - recognize signs of possible abuse. Nicole later wrote in her diary that after she and O.J. returned home from an evening with friends, "[O.J.] beat me up so bad... [he] tore my blue sweater and blue slacks completely off me."

Nicole's head was so badly bruised that O.J. drove her to a local hospital, where she told the physician treating her - Dr Martin Alpert - that she had had a bicycle accident.

As he told investigators, Dr. Alpert did not believe Nicole's explanation. It is not known whether he reported his suspicions; only in 1993 did it become a misdemeanor under California law to fail to report domestic abuse.

What is clear is that the state judicial system failed to protect Nicole.

At around 4 a.m. on January 1 1989, John Edwards and another police officer responded to a 911 call: "At 360 North Rockingham, woman being beaten." As Edwards recounted in his police reports and his gripping court testimony, when he arrived at the Simpsons' home, an hysterical Nicole ran to him screaming, "He's going to kill me!"

Her lip cut, her cheeks swollen, her eye blackened, "she clung onto me," Edwards continued. "She was beat up." Nicole yelled to the police, "You guys never do anything about him."

Emerging from his house in his bathrobe, O.J. spewed obscenities at the officers, and when they told him they were taking him to the police station, he shouted, "You've been out here eight times before, and you're going to arrest me for this?"

O.J. was charged with assault, but he suffered few consequences. Former police officer Ron Shipp, who'd received special training in domestic violence, testified at the trial that Nicole had called him a few days after the incident and asked him to talk to O.J. about his violent behavior. Though Shipp told Simpson that he fit the police profile of a batterer, he also listened to the pleas of his idol to help squelch the case and spoke to a police supervisor on O.J.'s behalf.

It's unlikely that Shipp wielded much influence, but the L.A. courts did seem loath to prosecute. O.J. pleaded no contest to the spousal abuse charge. Municipal court Judge Ronald R. Schoenberg did not impose a stiff punishment. Simpson was ordered to pay $470 in fines and penalty and $500 to a shelter for battered women.

Directed to receive domestic violence counseling, Simpson was allowed to choose his own therapist, and in September, when he moved to New York City to work for NBC as a football commentator, the judge permitted O.J. to continue his sessions by phone. Deputy city attorney Alana Bowman said that out of the 20,000 domestic violence cases her office handles each year, O.J. was the only defendant allowed to undergo counseling by phone.

Though Nicole repeatedly called the police for help, no other records of O.J.'s assaulting her have surfaced. There is speculation that O.J. talked the police out of filing such reports...

It would seem that after the 1989 incident, the Brown family finally had the evidence they needed to prevail upon Nicole to get out of the marriage. Denise had, at Nicole's request, taken a photograph of her bruised face, which Nicole locked away in her safe-deposit box.

Meanwhile, both O.J. and Nicole told the Browns how deeply they loved each other and that they were determined to work things out. The violence they both swore, was finished. In fact the beatings had not been a constant in their relationship. "It's hard to believe," says a friend, "but it wasn't the norm. There was a lot of good. There was a lot of fun."

The violence was real but sporadic. "There is a great myth," says domestic violence authority Gelles, "that abusive husbands are abusive 24 hours a day, 52 weeks a year. They are not."

Facing the Rage for People Magazine (February 20 1995)

Saturday, 3 October 2015

After THAT Verdict, the Forecast HAD Been Sort-Of Inevitable!

Even if you didn't think that O.J. was the killer, it is clear that he certainly beat Nicole at least a few times - in fact, in her diaries, which were not admitted as evidence, she recorded sixty-one separate incidents of abuse - and yet somehow that element of their relationship was strangely sacrosanct, it was something no one seemed ready to assess honestly and shamelessly.

The legal aspects of domestic violence - which was referred to in court as "domestic discord," since the word "violence" was deemed prejudicial - created a rallying point for outraged feminists and social workers and women's advocates to gather around and make some noise. It gave Denise Brown a good reason to avoid going to court. But none of the spousal abuse experts making their points on CNN or Geraldo Live had anything enlightening to say.

Even though we all knew that there must have been some kind of strange dynamic going on between O.J. and Nicole, some insulated universe that they invented and they alone understood, some kind of closet system that they had entered long ago, none of the pundits wanted to touch it, to speculate on it. The fact that the crime of domestic wife-beating had so long been overlooked - meant that nuanced thinking about these relationships had to be suppressed.

Meanwhile, as fired up as many people were getting about battered woman's syndrome out here in the real world, inside the courtroom none of this was getting through. One juror, interviewed after the verdict, even declared all the spousal abuse evidence "a waste of time", and left it at that. While this reaction was disingenuous and indicative of the jury's overall stupidity, it was also an understandably impatient response to a monolithic, simplistic view of what it means when a man throws his fist at a woman.

Because it means many things, just as both the words "yes" and "no" mean many things, and the human condition has always been and will forever be made more complicated, exciting, fun and difficult by the misunderstandings that dog us day after day, if not hour after hour or minute by minute. And this will always be the problem when the law gets mixed up with human affairs, particularly crimes of passion or mistakes of the heart: the legal system imposes a straightforward, Manichaean set of absolutes on crooked, twisted, multimotivated human behavior.
In criminal court, one can never be sort-of guilty or kind-of innocent.

While the O.J. trial brought domestic violence into the open, it may well have pushed the subtleties of personality - the simple idea that you can act as a person and not as a "syndrome" - dangerously out of view. Any curiosity about what made Nicole stay seventeen years in a relationship that was apparently violent from the start, what strange deal she'd made with the devil long ago - all that was discounted.

There was never any suggestion that by documenting the abuse and leaving pictures of her injured self in her safe-deposit box - which the prosecution had to drill open as it searched for evidence - and telling her friends "O.J. is going to kill me and get away with it," Nicole might have indicated not mere resignation to her fate but a strange acceptance of it...

It was never okay to conjecture that she have believed that it was somehow the proper denouement of her star-crossed romantic life to end up stabbed outside her home, throat slit so completely that she was almost decapitated...

There was never any thought that this bloody crime scene was as inevitable to her as William Holden floating in the pool at the beginning and the end of Sunset Boulevard, a great movie about characters who always knew it would come to this, who knew that Oedipus was a fool to fight his destined disgrace: instead of resisting fate, they get drunk with doom. Any suggestion of this kind of complicity on Nicole's part was absolutely verboten.

Somehow it was only okay to say that Nicole suffered and was murdered - never that she may have courted death or at the very least been a passive partner in her own end. That is just a far too sickening thought after years of feminism have tried to show us otherwise.

It does not matter that O.J. killed Nicole after she left, or that when a violent marriage ends in femicide, 75 percent of these murders occur after she has really severed ties: WHAT MATTERS IS THAT SHE STAYED.

Blame it on battered wife syndrome, on her friends, her family, Southern California in general or Brentwood in particular: it doesn't matter. There are women who walk out on a man who punches them, and there are women who stay: that's the main difference between people who get killed and people who don't. Seventeen years later it's too late....

I bet she left a safe-deposit box with pictures of her bruised face in it and the diary with its record of sixty-one instances of abuse, and I bet she told her friends over and over again, "O.J.'s going to kill me," not because she was afraid it was so or that she was even trying to prevent it - I think she said it because she knew it were so. She was forecasting the weather, knowing full well that there's nothing you can do to stop a hurricane...

Elizabeth Wurtzel
Bitch In Praise of Difficult Women
(London: Quartet Books 1998)

Friday, 12 June 2015

Nicole Simpson IS the Hero and Orenthal James the Perpetrator, Stupid!

It's the Perpetrator, Stupid.

You won't ever know the worse that happened to Nicole Brown Simpson in her marriage, because she is dead and cannot tell you. And if she were alive, remember, you wouldn't believe her.

It is always the same. It happens to women as different as Nicole Simpson, Lorena Bobbitt - and me. The perpetrators are men as different as O.J. Simpson, John Wayne Bobbitt, and the former flower-child I am still too afraid to name.

There is terror, yes, and physical pain. There is desperation and despair. One blames oneself, forgives him. One judges oneself harshly for not loving him enough. "It's your fault," he shouts as he is battering in the door, or slamming your head against the floor. And before you pass out, you say yes.

You run, but no one will hide you or stand up for you - which means standing up to him. You will hide behind bushes if there are bushes; or behind trash cans; or in alleys; away from the decent people who aren't helping you. It is, after all, your fault.

Nicole Simpson, like every battered woman, knew she would not be believed. She may have been shrewd enough to anticipate the crowds along the Orange County freeways cheering on O.J. Every battered woman has to be careful, even with strangers. His friends won't stop him. Neither will yours.

Nicole Simpson went to many experts on domestic violence for help but none of them stopped him. That's what it takes: the batterer has to be stopped. He will not stop himself. He has to be imprisoned, or killed, or she has to escape and hide, sometimes for the rest of her life, sometimes until he finds another woman to "love." There is no proof that counseling the batterer stops him.

It was Nicole who asked the police to arrest Simpson in 1989, the ninth time the police had been called. Arrest needs to be mandatory. The 1989 assault on Nicole Simpson should have resulted in O.J. Simpson's ninth arrest.

Accounts of wife-beating have typically been met with incredulity and disdain, best expressed in the persistent question, "Why doesn't she leave?" But after two decades of learning about battery, we now know that more battered women are killed after they leave than before.

Nicole Simpson was living in her own home when she was murdered. Her divorce had been finalized in 1992. Whether or not her ex-husband committed the murder, he did continue to assault her, threaten her, stalk her, intimidate her.

His so-called desire for reconciliation masks the awfulness of her situation, the same for every woman who escapes but does not disappear. Having ended the marriage, Nicole Simpson still had to negotiate her safety with the man who was hurting her.

She had to avoid angering him. Any hint that her amiability was essentially coerced, any threat of public exposure, any insult to his dignity from his point of view, might trigger aggression. This cause-and-effect scenario is more imagined than real, since the perpetrator chooses when he will hurt or threaten or stalk. Still the woman tries.

All the smiling photographs of them together after the divorce should evoke alarm, not romantic descriptions of his desire to reconcile. Nicole Simpson followed a strategy of appeasement, because no one stood between her and him to stop him.

Escape, in fact, is hell, a period of indeterminate length reckoned in years, not months, when the ex-husband commits assaults intermittently and acts of terrorism with some consistency. Part of the torment is that freedom is near but he will not let the woman have it.

Many escaped women live half in hiding. I am still afraid of my ex-husband each and every day of my life - and I am not afraid of much.

Maybe you don't know how brave women are - the ones who have stayed until now and the ones who have escaped, both the living and the dead. Nicole Simpson is the hero. The perpetrator is the problem, stupid.

Andrea Dworkin
Life and Death. Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War Against Women
(New York: Virago Press 1997)

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Silent No More? Words DO Matter! A Victim's Voice and the Campaign of Matthew Monforton...

The House approved Bozeman Republican Matthew Monforton’s proposal to broaden the type of evidence that is admissible in domestic violence and child abuse cases Tuesday.

Monforton argued that juries ought to be allowed to hear about the prior bad acts committed by an accused abuser, acts that are currently considered inadmissible.

“I do not advocate this bill because I trust Montana  prosecutors, and I do not advocate this bill because I trust Montana judges. I advocate this bill because I trust Montana juries. Our citizens are perfectly capable of sifting through the evidence, if they're presented with that evidence, and finding the truth.”

Monforton claims his bill is inspired by the 1995 murder trial of O. J. Simpson, in which past domestic violence accusations were excluded. He says California now allows past bad acts to be entered into evidence in such cases, and Montana should do the same.

But the bill drew opposition from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Helena Democrat Jenny Eck says it would allow too much evidence from the past to be entered, including charges that did not result in a conviction.

“What this bill does is it allows past accusations to be brought into the courtroom, evidence of any kind from the past can be brought in, so even if somebody was tried in the past and found innocent, those same accusations could be brought into the courtroom against them for a new crime. And so it’s a pretty scary precedent to set.”

And Republican Stephanie Hess of Havre said allowing a jury to hear about an accused abuser’s previous acts, could change the whole focus of a trial.

"It opens the door for the trial to become about the person’s character and not about what they’re charged with necessarily.”

Despite those objections, the bill was approved on a 55 to 45 vote. It must pass one more vote before heading to the Senate.

Words matter...
Where is the victim's voice? Where are her words? "I'm scared," Nicole Brown told her mother a few months before she was killed. "I go to the gas station, he's there. I go to the Payless Shoe Store, and he's there. I'm driving, and he's behind me."

Nicole's ordinary words of fear, despair and terror told to friends, and concrete descriptions of physical attacks recorded in her diary, are being kept from the jury. Insignificant when she was alive--because they didn't save her--the victim's words remain insignificant in death: excluded from the trial of her accused murderer, called "hearsay" and not admissible in a legal system that has consistently protected or ignored the beating and sexual abuse of women by men, especially by husbands.

Friday, 16 January 2015

#RecollectNicole! The Legacy of Nicole Brown Simpson Continues...

 “I learned who I am and who I’m not, what I’m worth and who is not.”
 Dominic Riccitello

Hello again! As this blog post begins with two apologies, my first apology is that even though January is well and truly upon us and the month of February is now beckoning; I would still like to wish you all a very ‘Happy New Year’!

And secondly, I apologise for the lack of recent updates about Nicole Brown Simpson and to my chagrin having realised that I had posted my last story about her in September!

In my defence, I can only say that I have been very busy with other projects and as some of which were and are about Nicole; I had by no means forgotten about her…

Already 20015 promises to be interesting year with the release of the much anticipated ‘American Crime Story: The People v. O.J Simpson’ which will share the tales of the trial that begin an incredible twenty years ago this month!

The mini-series has been inspired by the fabulous book The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin and will feature John Travolta and David Schwimmer as the two ‘Bobs’, the former as Robert Shapiro, Simpson’s swathe and duplicitous defence lawyer and the latter as Robert Kardashian, Simpson’s mysteriously conflicted friend, former spouse of Kris and the lawyer whose jaw-dropping expression as the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict was delivered remains burned in the image of that unforgettable day.

A statement from the television channel FX, the producers of the ‘American Crime Story’ revealed that ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ will share the tales of the “the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and manoeuvring on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defence shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave the jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.”

Personally speaking, I have never had any doubts, reasonable or otherwise as to the question of Simpson’s guilt!

As the ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ is certain to shine the spotlight upon Simpson who is currently languishing inside the notorious Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada for anything from nine to thirty three years for his part in an armed confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007; I was disappointed to learn of the statement from Denise Brown that she had withdrawn her support for the Heart & Soul Food, a film that would focus on the life and the memories of her younger sister.

Denise had personally launched the idea for Heart & Soul Food through Kickstarter, the crowd funding website with Jimi James, Message Mon in 2014 to raise $360,000 in a campaign that would last 55 days; Nicole’s age.

Having taken a look at the campaign on Kickstarter today and even though 14 backers have pledged at total of $403, the message board simply reads Funding Canceled: Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on January 5.

The statement by Denise on her decision remains unequivocal: “The minute people said you have to market this with Simpson’s name I said no,” she says. “I won’t do anything to acknowledge the acquittal this year. So many are jumping on the bandwagon and doing the same old stuff, and I thought this could be different because the story is different. But I won’t go there.”

As Denise is apparently ‘brainstorming other ways to honor her sister’s life.’, I still wonder about the publication of her book that never was.

Due for publication in October 1998 by HarperCollins, Nicole’s Story promised to offer ‘a compelling portrait of her late sister which serves a two-fold purpose: to introduce readers to the smart, beautiful, and nurturing woman whom she loved; and to warn other women of the dangers of staying in an abusive relationship.’

With the promise of sixteen pages of colour photographs, this is the book I would love to read and I can’t imagine that I would be alone in thinking this!

Surely a balanced and realistic portrayal by those who actually knew and loved Nicole could begin the long process of shifting the spotlight away from the man who took her life and that of Ron Goldman one Sunday evening in June over twenty years ago.

Alas, until that time comes, I shall continue to do all that I can to keep the memory of Nicole alive…

Thank you for Remembering Nicole!


As I've been doing a little New Year dusting and cleaning (metaphorically of course!) with some of my blogs; the links below will transport you to the only sites that I now publish…

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Laughing at Justice! Ceri Daniel Speaks Out...

A violent lout did an ‘Irish jig’ outside court after being spared jail for beating his girlfriend.

Michael Brown, 27, boasted that he ‘didn't even get community service’ after his trial. But his victim has accused the ‘soft’ judge who let him walk free of ruining people’s lives.

Her comments will heap further pressure on Judge George Moorhouse, who has already been accused of misconduct by three police and crime commissioners.

They have highlighted a number of cases in which he has failed to send domestic abusers to prison, claiming that such decisions can force victims into hiding.

Ceri Daniel, 24, suffered head injuries and cuts all over her upper body after being punched and kicked by Brown in January.

The terrified victim said the judge’s failure to jail the attacker after the trial in July left her with no choice but to flee her home town, as she was so petrified of meeting him.

She said: ‘Judge Moorhouse ruins people’s lives without even knowing he is doing it. He should not be a judge at all. He makes the victims prisoners, not the perpetrators.’

Miss Daniel was beaten after inviting her former partner of seven years to her house. During the attack, he also assaulted two of her friends.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and was given a three-month suspended sentence, put on a domestic violence programme and told to pay £550 compensation to his victims.

Miss Daniel said the judge’s failure to jail the attacker after the trial in July left her with no choice but to flee her home town, as she was so petrified of meeting him.

But Miss Daniel said her ex, the father of her two children, had been left thinking ‘the justice system is a laugh’. She added: ‘There is no justice, no deterrent.

‘My life has been turned upside down, while Michael’s has carried on as normal.’

Judge George Moorhouse, who has been criticised by victims for the ‘soft sentences’ he imposes

Speaking about her decision to leave her home town of Middlesbrough, she said: ‘He lived close by and I was petrified of bumping into him. I became a prisoner in my own home.’

The case is one of a number of trials in which it is alleged that Judge Moorhouse, who sits at Teesside Crown Court, has ‘failed to deliver justice for the public’.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird and fellow commissioners Barry Coppinger and Ron Hogg in Cleveland and Durham have compiled a dossier of suspect cases.

The trio have called for the judge to be investigated and written to the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman to complain.

They were driven to act following the trial of Anthony Bruce, 34, who was given a mere 12-month suspended sentence after beating his wife, holding a knife to her throat and shooting her in the foot with a pellet gun.

Their accusations were initially rejected by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, which said there was no evidence of misconduct and that it could not look at sentencing issues.

Beaten Up by a Woman... The Courage of Paul Kirkpatrick

A woman who hit her partner with a hammer and pole, and slashed him with a broken glass bottle has been jailed for eight years.

Gemma Hollings, 37, was jailed for two counts of grievous bodily harm, and two of assault, in 'one of the worst cases of domestic violence' police had ever seen.

Paul Kirkpatrick, 30, had his neck slashed with a bottle, suffered a cut above his eye, and had a bone in his face broken after a vicious attack in May.

Police found the victim lying in the street after he ran away from the home he shared with his partner in Darwen, Lancashire. He told officers that she had caused the wounds after an argument over her hair straighteners.

Speaking after the hearing at Preston Crown Court, DC Jenny Berry, said: 'The victim suffered very traumatic injuries. They could have potentially been fatal.

'This was a nasty attack. It is certainly one of the most serious cases of domestic violence I have ever come across. It was a relentless assault. 'Justice has now been done for the victim and he just wants to forget about the whole thing and move on with his life.'

She added: 'The bottle had been used to cause the injury to his neck. When the victim was found, he did not really understand the significance of his injuries. 'Since the attack, he has been able to move on. He has moved away and is not living in Darwen anymore. He has made a fresh start now that Hollings is in prison and the further away from her he is, the better.'

The officer said cases of domestic violence against men were not reported to police as often as those against women. She added: 'We do not hear of many cases of domestic violence against men because they are very much under-reported. 'This is the first domestic violence case I have dealt with which has involved a man.

'Tackling the issue is one of our main priorities and I would urge anyone, male of female, who is experiencing it to come forward.'

Wendy Chappell, senior prosecutor, said: 'Gemma Hollings carried out a series of violent attacks on her partner over two days using her bare hands and several weapons.
'He received extremely serious injuries resulting in him requiring hospital treatment.

'Everyone has the right to feel safe and be safe in their personal relationships, therefore, the CPS and police take all cases of domestic violence extremely seriously regardless of whether the victim is male or female. 'Bringing the perpetrators of such offences to justice remains a high priority.

'I would like to encourage anyone who has been a victim of such offences to come forward and report it to the police and we will support you in every possible way.'

Rachel Horman, a solicitor specialising in domestic violence, at Watson Ramsbottom, said men often felt too embarrassed to tell the authorities.

She said: 'It is harder for men to come forward because of ideas of masculinity and that men should be tough. Some men feel ashamed, but I would urge them to get help from the police or domestic violence charities. 'They should not be embarrassed because every specialist will have dealt with men before.'

According to Home Office statistics, 2.7 million men have experienced some form of domestic abuse in their lifetimes, with 700,000 victims reported in 2012/13 alone.

A spokeswoman from the Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Domestic Violence Team said they often saw cases of domestic violence against men, but that there were still more women who came forward.

She said: “Regardless of gender, if you are feeling frightened or want someone to talk to about something going on in the home, give us a call and we can support you. 'Gender does not matter, everybody is treated as an individual.'

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner, said: 'Domestic abuse is a problem which affects all sections of society, and is one which I take very seriously.
'It is vitally important all victims - whether they are male or female - feel they are able to come forward. The courage and bravery displayed by the victim in this case is to be commended.

'Abuse is never the fault of the victim.'

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Reward for an All-Star Image...

Out of the media and public obsession with O.J. Simpson, the only thing we know for sure is that there was domestic violence. And that violence, all other allegations aside, cuts across all racial and ethnic lines.

In the case of O.J. Simpson, who was skillfully packaged, merchandised and sold by handlers, it probably was easy to escape dealing with internal concerns because he reaped such high rewards for his all-star image.

No, I'm not relieving Simpson of the responsibility for dealing with his internal problems. But if an athlete or movie star or media star is put on a pedestal by an admiring public, it becomes easier to avoid confronting problems and dealing with him or herself.

Men such as Simpson, who appear to have achieved so much, are particularly at risk to the dangers of self-delusion. According to the information that has emerged so far, Simpson never faced the emotional difficulties behind his wife battering and didn't get the counseling he needed.

After an incident in 1989 that eventually landed him in court, he was described as being arrogant, saying  when police arrived at his home: "This is a family affair."

Later sentenced to community service, he said he'd already done more community service than most people in the courtroom.

Since he was not willing to look within, it was not too difficult for his "cruel inner voice" to bring him down. Failing to deal with character issues makes us deaf to this voice.

To see the Simpson case only in terns of an alleged heinous crime by a famous man, only in terms of the fickleness of fame, is to veil the mirror it presents for us to take a deeper look at our society - and ourselves.

Dorothy Gilliam
President of the National Association of Black Journalists
Ebony Magazine

Monday, 7 July 2014

Read the Words and Blame the Victim!

O.J. Simpson is selling a videotape that he claims reveals "his side" of his murder case - and it's sparking a storm of controversy around America.

Simpson's pushing the tape for $29.95. But here for ENQUIRER readers are key word-for-word excerpts from what O.J. has to say on the tape - and an analysis of evidence that refutes his claims.

Questioned by interviewer Ross Becker at O.J.'s Rockingham home, the convicted wife-beater actually denies that Nicole Simpson was terrified when she made the now famous 911 call in 1993 - after O.J. broke down her door. The former football great even claims HE was the battered spouse.

O.J.: "That is a problem that when I am free to speak, I plan to speak to women's groups. Battery is just not a one-way street. I think it is more an attitude than anything. Just because it doesn't hurt when someone hits you, when someone slaps you in front of people, it is abusive to you - all that constitutes battery."

This is a "ridiculous" comment frequently made by abusers, said Dr. Lynn M. Appleton, associate professor of sociology at Florida Atlantic University and an expert on domestic violence.

"It distorts the reality of violence between men and women in a very serious way. In our culture men learn how to be violent.
"Batterers generally believe that the victim had it coming. That is what O.J. is doing - it's very common behaviour to blame the battering on the battered person."

O.J., staring straight into the camera, also states: "Go to all the people who ever lived with Nicole and I. Go to all her friends. Go to Nicole's words."

All right, let's go to Nicole's words, O.J.

In her secret diary - revealed in The ENQUIRER last October, Nicole catalogs numerous incidents of abuse at the hands of Simpson, writing:
"Beat me so bad...  Smashed my car w/ Baseball bat... Ripped all clothes off me... Called Mother Whore hit me while F----- me... Beat me on bed kept hitting me until police came... threw me against wall threw me on floor..."

The National Enquirer
March 5 1996

Nicole Brown Simpson... The Story Continues!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Out of the Shadows, a 911 Call and the Fear of Nicole Brown Simpson...

The voice is, by turns angry, exasperated, terrified and, finally resigned. It is her second 911 call within 10 minutes.

In the background, a man is screaming - about children, tabloids, an old boyfriend. The words are only semi-audible, but his rage needs no amplification.

"Could you get someone over here now, to 325 Gretna Green. He's back. Please", asks Nicole Simpson.

"What does he look like?" asks the operator.

"He's O.J. Simpson. I think you know his record", she says with a tremor of panic. Simpson she explains, had broken down the back door of her house.

"Is he threatening you?"

She begins to sob. "He's fucking going nuts."

The Simpson case continued to obsess the nation last week.

Details of Nicole Simpson's troubled and violent marriage also emerged in sharper relief last week. 

One friend told NEWSWEEK of an ugly incident at daughter Sydney's school around the time of the 1992 divorce in which  O.J. stormed up to his wife and yanked her arm so hard that she nearly fell.

Accounts of her last days suggest a woman bent on making a clean break from the volatile Simpson.

Denise Brown told The New York Times her sister had broken up with Simpson a week and a half before she died. She also put her $625,000 town house up for lease in early June, just five months after she'd bought it.

"Drop-dead gorgeous New York style townhouse in heart of Brentwood" for $4,800 a month, said a description listed by her real-estate agent.

But whatever her plans, whatever her fears, time ran out on the evening of June 12.

Newsweek Magazine
July 4 1994


Although advocacy groups are already claiming that Nicole Simpson's case can do for spousal abuse what Rock Hudson did for AIDS and Anita Hill did for sexual harassment, that may be more rhetoric than reality; there is great ambivalence about family violence... 

...The unwritten code that a man's home is his castle and what happens inside should stay there.

So many look away because they don't know what constitutes domestic violence.
Who's a victim? Who's an abuser?

Newsweek Magazine
July 4 1994

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Nicole, a Model Victim of Abuse...

"I'm afraid he's going to kill me!" 
That's what Nicole Simpson told her therapist Susan Forward about her terrifying fear of O.J. Simpson.

And just days before the football great's ex-wife was brutally murdered, she spurned O.J.'s pleas for a reconciliation and echoed the same fear to a friend: "I'm really afraid one day he'll go too far and kill me!"

"O.J. constantly battered her," said Forward, the therapist who counseled Nicole when she was going through her divorce from the star in 1992. 

"She was terrified of him. He constantly threatened her life. She told me, 'O.J. is so insanely possessive and jealous that there's no telling what he might do. He gets so angry I know he could kill me someday.'"

Nicole was a typical battered wife - and O.J., 46, had a "classic case of obsession," said Forward, author of the book "Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much To Let Go."

"After they separated, O.J. kept pursuing her," Forward told The ENQUIRER... She was living in terror. he was always accusing her of seeing other men. If she went to a gas station to get gas for her car; O.J. would demand to know if she was seeing the gas station attendant and there'd be a big fight!

"When she was seeing me, Nicole still had a lot of loving feelings for O.J. She kept seeking the love of the man who beat her.

"Nicole would lie curled up on my couch in a fetal position, crying, with no make-up, torn jeans and stringy hair. She looked like a helpless waif.

"She was trembling in fear when she told me, 'I'm trying to get my life together. But it's on my mind every minute - what is O.J. going to do next?'"...

The National Enquirer
June 28 1994

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Football Association Gives the Red Card to Domestic Abuse...

The Football Association has backed Women’s Aid's campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence and battle the sexist attitudes that underpin abuse against women.

Working alongside a number of football clubs, organisations, players and fans – Women’s Aid will encourage the football community to speak out publicly against domestic violence in society in order to make football a place where perpetrators of domestic abuse are not welcome.

In backing the campaign, FA general secretary Alex Horne said football has a key role to play in tackling such a serious problem.

“At The FA we know what enormous power the footballing community has to make positive change and we welcome this important campaign,” he said.

“Domestic violence affects all of our society and football, especially as the World Cup approaches, has the potential to reach a huge proportion of the public.

“We can all make a difference by signing up to the Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign - clubs, fans and players - to bring domestic violence out from behind closed doors.”

Women’s Aid is asking clubs to get involved by signing the Football United Club Pledge to send a clear message that domestic violence is completely unacceptable.

The pledge also encourages clubs to help break the silence that allows domestic violence to continue and provide positive role models of younger people in the community.

Another advocate of the campaign is former England goalkeeper David James, who said the world of football must play its part.

He said: “All forms of domestic violence are completely unacceptable, and it is shocking to think that there is a rise in reporting following England games.

“I wholeheartedly support the Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign, and hope that clubs get involved and work with Women’s Aid to help raise awareness with their supporters.”

The FA has backed a number of initiatives and Horne added that the organisation is delighted to be part of another worthy campaign.

He added: “We are keen to promote social change through football and our new Inclusion Advisory Board already supports well known campaigns such as Kick It Out and Football v Homophobia; we are proud to now add Football United Against Domestic Violence to that list.”

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