Monday, October 6, 2014

Spread the Word

Tonight, I had to go to an event for my participation grade for my women's studies class. Throughout the year, the university plans to have speakers come and talk to students. This month they scheduled to have Denise Brown speak as part of Domestic Violence Awareness month.
If you don't know, Denise Brown is the older sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, who was murdered by her NFL football player husband O.J. Simpson twenty years ago. A huge court case broke out where Simpson was found not guilty. I was kind of interested to hear Brown speak because I had learned a little about the case after watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It has come up on the show because their late father, Robert, was O.J.'s lawyer and friend and their mom, Kris, was Nicole's friend.
However, tonight, Denise did not really speak much about the court case. She spoke more about domestic violence, which is more important anyways. Her speech started off by talking about the close bond she had with her sister. They were less than two years apart and they moved from Germany to California when they were five and six year olds. They didn't not know any english, which she thinks is part of what bonded them so close. Growing up, they had the same friends and if one was mad at someone, the other sister followed right along being mad to. She says they told each other everything. So, as you can only imagine, she was shocked when she found out what was happening. She did not understand why her sister didn't tell her. She went on to explain that domestic violence is a dirty little secret and 73% of cases go unreported. She brought up the cycle of violence that includes the "honeymoon" stage, were the perpetrator buys the victim gifts and flowers and apologizes causing the vicious cycle to go around again. In addition, she emphasized the fact that there are domestic violence shelters out there hat have a very home-like atmosphere for people going through it and feeling like they can't escape it.
To give you an idea to the extent of the violence, Denise gave examples of what was going on behind closed doors. Warning: the rest of this paragraph get intense and can be overwhelming. After Nicole's death, the family found her diary recalling awful times. One of the first entries Denise read was that Nicole went to the ER and lied to the medical staff saying she fell off the bike. According to Denise, these excuses are all too common. In a different entry, Nicole recalled being locked in a wine cellar all day while her husband sat just feet outside the door watching T.V. Throughout the day, he would come in and out and beat her. Another time, she was hung on the balcony of a twelfth story room at the same hotel Denise was at. Denise could not even imagine this was going on so close to her and she didn't even notice.
I thought the event was so educational and eye-opening. Denise deserves to be commended for the work she is doing by talking all over the world. I know it is not easy to relive all these emotional moments day after day. I am glad that I am more educated on the subject of domestic violence now. Denise told everyone, that one of the biggest things people can do to help domestic violence is to spread the message, and I'm doing just that right now. So, now it is my hope that you pay it forward too. I hope you learned something new today like I did. I plan on incorporating Denise's speech into my group presentation on Wednesday relating to gendered violence.
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1 comment:

  1. I like that you are taking Women's Studies classes and learning about things we don't normally talk about.