What is domestic violence? A series on Dr. Bradley's sourcebook (part 4) The legacy of the O.J Simpson case
The Legacy of the O.J Simpson Case
The aftermath of the infamous O.J Simpson case had a tremendous amount of effects concerning domestic violence in the public eye and its legacy has had an overall positive impact in raising awareness about the help that is available to victims of domestic violence. Nicole Brown Simpson paid a heavy price for women of the next generation, and took every precaution she could to ensure her safety. Unfortunately, even after multiple police calls, photographic evidence of the abuse, and a signed letter of confession in the form of an apology, Nicole and Ron were knifed down in cold blood (Bradley). Police were called to the Simpson residence multiple times for alleged domestic violence, and multiple times the officers neglected the mandatory must arrest policy set in California at the time and left without Mr. Simpson. Dr. Bradley asks, “is there any other crime for which we place the responsibility for prevention upon the victim rather than on the perpetrator?” (Bradley).
Luckily, the deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman weren’t in vain. The massive amount of tv coverage ensured that households across the nation understood the severity of domestic violence, and that it could happen among any types of people. The positive effects of the case can be seen on a macro level across the nation, “calls to shelters have steadily increased… dozens of new organizations have sprung up… the law has changed to close loopholes and strengthen penalties against abusers” (Bradley). Police training has even been altered and updated to familiarize police with more effects strategies of dealing with abusers and recognizing ways to ensure the victims safety. The public exposure to the realities and frequency of domestic violence was perhaps the most impactful effect the case had on the general populace. During the dates surrounding the highly publicized trial, hotlines set up to help both ends of domestic violence received a flood of calls seeking help. America as a whole could no longer turn a blind eye to the pervasive problems in the home, and were even more encouraged to step forward and seek help.
Bradley suggests that perhaps one of the most positive things that has come out of this is America dropping the notion of “what happens in a man’s house stays in the house” (Bradley). This idea seems archaic to us today, but was an idea that was heavily prevalent in American society just decades prior. Americans as a whole are more open to the idea of infiltrating the home in order to ensure the safety of the household. It’s an issue that everyone knew loomed in the shadows, but was now finally starting to gain national attention and recognition from people around the world. Bradley suggests that we as a nation have seen the various different examples on what not to do when it comes to treating domestic violence, but we can at least agree on two basic strategies for treating a domestic violence case. First was that “domestic violence must be treated as a crime… and second the community institutions working towards helping the victim of domestic violence need to work together to ensure the best job is done” (Bradley). If just those two basic procedures would have been followed, Nicole Simpson might still be alive. Although there is still much debate on the specific procedures related to addressing a case of domestic violence, the O.J Simpson case had an overall positive impact on spreading awareness on the prevalent issue.
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Berry, Dawn Bradley. The Domestic Violence Sourcebook. Contemporary, 2001