Thursday, July 19, 2018

Can We Get Worked Up About Abuse?

As the O.J. Simpson case continues to unfold, the national spotlight has begun to focus on the horrors of domestic violence and the abuse of women.

Simpson is being held without bail in the Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail in the grisly double-homicide of his former spouse Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

In 1989, Simpson pleaded "no contest" to abusing his then wife, and the recent release of 911 tapes gave a glimpse of one of his abusive tirades.

Audrey Chapman, family therapist/counselor and author, told JET from her Washington, DD, office,

"Unfortunately this has been a subject that has been neglected for too many years.
Battered women - and children - have been verbally, sexually and physically abused for years... Now you've got a whole country focused on domestic violence. 

People are suddenly realizing this a major issue".

Ms. Chapman pointed out, "It takes something like Nicole Brown Simpson losing her life to get people all worked up.

"Some say people wouldn't have gotten so worked up if she had not been White. But I hope that this is not the case. It's victimizing, degrading and very dangerous for the victim, regardless of race".

On the highly-publicized 911 tape, Simpson could be heard in the background screaming obscenities, as his former wife pleaded for the police dispatcher to send help immediately.

It was just one in a series of calls she had made in an effort to quell domestic disturbances during their stormy seven-year marriage that dissolved in divorce in 1992.

Ms. Chapman told JET repeat calls to police for domestic disturbances should automatically result in authorities and social service agencies stepping in to get help for the abusive partner.

"If I report a child abuse case and it's clear abuse is taking place, everybody gets involved. And it's required by courts that abusers get therapy, whether they want to or not. If they can do it with child abuse, they can certainly do it with domestic abuse."

Husband and wife psychologists Drs. Julia and Nathan Hare who practice in San Francisco, hope something positive will come out of the entire O.J. Simpson "tragedy."

She said, "It's a tragedy that this happened, but it's a sobering experience."

"There is never any excuse for abuse or murder. Men can walk away. They don't have to stay in a situation until they are completely out of control. This is bigger than O.J. Simpson," she said.

Her husband added, "Men need to be taught an alternative way to deal with their women. There's a problem of self-esteem and impulse control. You just don't grab somebody because you feel like it."

While many states across the country are considering legislation that would allow law enforcement officials to press charges against a man who abuses a woman even if she refuses, Hare disagrees with such tactics.

"I think everything is a matter of degree. It depends on if she wants to keep the relationship going. You just can't spend the tax payers' money trying a person when the victim doesn't want him to be tried."

"Instead of going to jail - then the cure is worse than the disease - send both to a treatment center where a program could benefit them both. A lot of these people are poor and that's not going to help when the man she loves - and probably still loves her - is in jail."

Hare concluded that through counseling programs, men can learn to control their frustration and anger. "Men resort to fisticuffs when they feel they have failed to deal with the woman on a person to person level. Once he resorts to fisticuffs, he has already lost the fight - and the relationship."

Jet Magazine (July 18 1994)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Nothing THAT Good Comes Easy!

Nicole Simpson lived life in the Hollywood fast lane. And now defense attorneys are planning to lift the lid on her free-spending, hard-partying lifestyle.

Friends say Nicole tried desperately to spend her way to happiness after her divorce from O.J.

"Nicole liked fast cars and young handsome guys," says a source close to the beautiful blonde. "Even though she was a 35-year-old mom, she looked and lived like she was still in her 20s.

"And why not? She certainly didn't look a day over 30. Of course she worked hard on her body. Nothing that good comes easy,"

"She jogged seven days a week down a 3-mile path around Brentwood Country Club or San Vicente Boulevard. She also had a personal trainer at Pro Gym.

"Nicole loved spending money," says one of her pals. "After her divorce, she felt she could spend more freely  since O.J. wasn't constantly looking over her shoulder. When she was married to him, she'd sometimes have to hide the more expensive things because O.J. would become irate over the bills.

"Buying expensive clothes and jewelry made Nicole happy, she once said "The only happiness I have with O.J. is that he pays the bills. If I had the money, I'd leave him for good."

But Nicole's sister insists: "She loved O.J. She didn't care if he was a football player or dirt digger. They were really great for each other."

She lived with him for six years before they married in 1985. When she filed for divorce on Feb 25, 1992, court documents revealed she'd begun living with O.J. when she was only 19, often shuttling back and forth between Los Angeles and San Francisco to be at her lover's side.

Nicole also described the plush pleasures and lavish comforts of her married lifestyle - which included a $6,000-per-month spending allowance, the couple's $5-million Brentwood mansion and a $1.9-million summer home in Laguna Beach.

"The house was never rented but just used for our social enjoyment," Nicole said of their pad by the sea. "The lifestyle that O.J. and I shared was truly substantial. We traveled first class and sometimes by private jet."

There were frequent trips to Aspen, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Mexico. "After the divorce, it was hard for Nicole to give it all up. So she chose not to," says a friend.

Even though Nicole gave her undivided attention to her kids, she never deprived herself of a good time.

"Nicole Simpson commanded attention the minute she stepped into a room," says Philip Cummins, the owner of Santa Monica's Renaissance Club, where the doomed beauty and her pals were Thursday-night regulars.

"She was a beautiful woman, always surrounded by friends. She was a woman who liked to have a good time. She knew how to party. She usually came in from 9pm until 2am and spent a lot of time drinking shots of her favourite tequila at the bar... She never seemed out of control."

Cummins told STAR he once saw Nicole at the dance club with Ron Goldman, the 25-year-old waiter who was slain at her side.

"They just seemed like really good friends. I didn't see them acting any more affectionate than a pair of buddies. They were both fun-loving people who liked to have a good time," he says.

Star Magazine (July 12 1994)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A 'Drop-Dead' Soundbite for Violence

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.

Audiotapes of Nicole Simpson's October 25, 1993, police calls, made public by authorities on Wednesday, offered harrowing proof of a relationship plagued by violence and intimidation.

Less than eight months later she and Ronald Goldman were dead, brutally knifed to death, the Los Angeles district attorney alleges, at the hands of her ex-husband.

By themselves, the tapes say nothing about O.J. Simpson's guilt or innocence. But they provided more disturbing evidence that his genial public persona masked a more menacing private personality.

As the tapes were played nonstop on television and radio, they also galvanized a debate on the hidden ravages of domestic violence.

Lawmakers began to get the message: New York and Colorado passed tough new laws against spousal abuse.

The tapes were also part of a fiercely contested trial by soundbite. The principle players, District Attorney Gil Garcetti and defense counsel Robert Shapiro, both scrambled for early public-relations advantage in what could become the most sensational criminal trial in memory.

Their jousting raised questions about the real strength of the state's case, as well as Simpson's ability to get a fair day in court. Last Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cecil Mills halted a grand-jury review of evidence in the case, citing concern that a torrent of pretrial publicity had prejudiced some jurors. 

Garcetti and Shapiro, both concerned about a tainted indictment, pushed for the ruling. But it is clearly a setback for the state. Now, a judge will decide whether Garcetti has sufficient evidence to go to trial. A preliminary hearing, scheduled to begin Thursday, is certain to be a marquee attraction for celebrity-trial junkies.

It will also afford Shapiro and his defense team the tactical advantage of an early look at the state's case.

Hours later, on Wednesday, L.A. police, on the advice of City Attorney James Hahn, released the tapes of Nicole Simpson's 1993 police call. The media had been demanding them for days. But the timing of the city's compliance - just in time for the 5 p.m. newscasts in Los Angeles - had the whiff of retaliation from officials bent on winning the news cycle back from Shapiro.

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 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.

One news organization quoted a friend as saying she was concerned about safety - that she'd caught O.J. looking into her window. "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)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Can't Live. Can't Live Without...

Football superstar O.J. Simpson's ex-wife told friends she feared for her life in the weeks before her brutal murder.

A STAR investigation has uncovered a shocking pattern of violence, obsession and jealousy in the volatile relationship between Simpson - who went on to fame in movies, TV and commercials - and his beautiful blonde wife, Nicole Simpson.

Nicole Simpson, 35, and her male companion Ronald Goldman, 25, were found savagely slain outside her luxury condominium in posh West Los Angeles last week.

But as the story of his ex-wife's death unfolded in Hollywood last week, it sounded more incredible than the wildest movie script.

Friends say Nicole lived in fear of the one-time Buffalo Bill's superstar. O.J. had been convicted of beating her up five years ago after allegedly screaming: "I'm going to kill you!". But the couple still continued their on-again, off-again relationship.

"He would drive past her home at all hours of the day and night hoping to catch a glimpse of her. he wanted a reconciliation," says a source.

"In April, a friend saw her shopping in the market and she was wearing sunglasses. She told the friend it was because O.J. had given her a black eye.

"A week before she died, she told friends she thought she was being followed. O.J. and Nicole separated many times and she would usually begin dating young, gorgeous guys with no brains. It was a very sick relationship they had."

Nicole's sister-in-law Maria Brown tells STAR:
"She and O.J. had a lot of problems. He was real jealous, wouldn't even let her talk to another man.

"She never really talked to me about the beatings, but her brother Rolf, knew and it made him mad."

Another source says O.J. recently confronted Nicole about taking drugs - specifically crack - and threatened he would go the authorities.

But other friends paint Nicole as a caring, loving mother, who put her two youngsters ahead of everything, and encouraged O.J. to visit them.

"She was a terrific mother," says pal Grant Cramer. "And I think she always loved O.J., but they just couldn't live together. For their sake she moved out of the house, not because she wanted to split the family up".

"She wanted them to see as much of their father as they could. She brought them over every weekend."

The shocking murder took place on Sunday night, June 12 - hours after Nicole and O.J. attended a school dance recital for one of their children.

Neighbor Amy Hartunian, whose daughter is a pupil at the same dance school, saw the proud parents together just hours before Nicole's murder. "I can't believe this happened," she says. "She was on top of the world. She looked great."

Star Magazine (June 28 1994)