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This year marks the 25th anniversary of O.J. Simpson‘s acquittal in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, and a new documentary will mark the occasion by sharing an all too often neglected perspective: the victim’s.
The story of the murder has been told and retold, often focusing on the infamous trial, and mostly from the perspective of her ex-husband and suspected murderer. (Who can forget the former football player redefining poor taste with his book If I Did It.) Now, a new Investigation Discovery special, O.J. & Nicole: An American Tragedy, centers specifically on Nicole and her story.
Describing the special, ID exec Henry Schleiff says:
“This documentary is not here to retell the famous trial, but to remember the woman who struggled with domestic violence and now tells her side of the story, in her words, for the first time.”
The doc gives Nicole a voice through her diaries, read by sister Tanya Brown. The pages reportedly contain over 60 incidents of domestic abuse Nicole suffered at O.J.’s hands. Unfortunately, these recollections were deemed inadmissible during the trial, with the judge ruling these accounts “hearsay” — another example of how little consideration victims of domestic violence are given in our justice system.
Nicole’s records of these incidents are detailed, specific, and graphic. In one entry, she notes the first time the athlete physically abused her, writing:
“1st time he beat me up after Louis + Nanie Mary anniversary party. Started on the street corner of NYC 5th Ave at about 9 (pm). Threw me on the floor, hit me, kicked me. we went to the hotel where he continued to beat me for hours and I continued crawling for the door.”
Another undated entry reads:
“Smashed my car (white Mercedes) with Baseball Bat after visiting Tommy Hughes. He greeted me at the gate. I was too afraid to get out of the car. He did it because I was late, about 7-8pm.”
Because she was late? Ugh…
Family and friends claimed to have no idea the level of abuse she suffered until after she died. One description shows how she covered for her famous husband:
“Eric & Val Von Watts. Listened to music at my place on Wilshire. After we finished our drinks we left. beat me up so bad at home. Tore my blue sweater and blue socks completely off me. Went to hospital on Wilshire, pretended it was a bicycle accident.”
Another part of the diary also highlights the accompanying verbal abuse:
“OJ was drunk, he never let up. Get out my f**king house you fat a** liar. I packed a few things together. … He locked the door again. I buzzed. Do I really have to go tonight? Sydney sleeping, it’s late. Let me tell you how serious I am. I have a gun in my hand, get the f*** out of here.”
These are just a handful of Nicole’s many recollections of abuse — it’s honestly too easy to see how these terrifying incidents could escalate to that inevitable deadly conclusion. Knowing that law enforcement were aware of some of the abuse — and that O.J. had even pleaded no contest to spousal abuse — makes it all the more tragic and infuriating that he was acquitted.
Hopefully, this ID doc will honor Nicole’s life, and shine a light on this all-important issue. Domestic violence needs to be taken much more seriously in our society, and we need to do a better job of protecting victims of abuse.
For anyone affected by abuse and needing support, call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.
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