I am normally against violence in every form but I have a confession to make, occasionally an incident happens that just plain and simple tickles me. According to the Daily News, Arnelle Simpson became upset when she learned that O.J gave money to his new girlfriend when her mother was struggling to earn a living working at Walmart. She was further enraged by said girlfriends drinking problem. For probably the first time in his life O.J. caught a beating from a woman. That's right, daddy's little girl gave him the shove of a life time. According to the National Enquirer, (take with a grain of salt) "which first reported the row, quoted a source saying O.J. was "cut on the back of his head, blood was coming out the side of his mouth and his lip was cut."
Whether or not you believe that O.J killed his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson, what cannot be denied is that he violently beat her. I will never forget listening to the chilling 911 call she made during his trial. I will not forget viewing the pictures of her bruised and battered body. Those that celebrated his not guilty verdict could only do so by failing to acknowledge what this man is. The juice, with his charming smile and football superhero status is a violent, angry man and that should never be forgotten.
Though Arnelle did call 911 to get aid for her father, there is a part of me that believes that he does deserve to suffer. He deserves even for just a moment to feel the pain, isolation, betrayal, hurt, and fear that Nicole felt every single time he lifted his hand to her. Though I am sure that it did not teach him any lasting lessons, in what was probably the first time in his adult life the Juice learned what it was to truly be vulnerable to one that is stronger. That this person was a woman, and his daughter only makes it a case of poetic justice.
Domestic violence is something that affects women globally across race, and class divides. According to endabuse.org, "Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime." Domestic violence is the secret shame that its victims live with, often creating elaborate tales to explain away the bruises and black eyes. We live in a society that is intent on victim blaming, and women that are assaulted or murdered by their abusers are often constructed as ball busters. Often the social refrain is why didn't she just leave him. This anti-woman hatred further enables these incidents of violence to not be taken seriously. "Approximately two-thirds of reported domestic violence incidents are classified as "simple assaults," which is a misdemeanour rather than a felony. But up to 50 percent of these "simple assaults" result in physical injuries that are as, or more, serious than 90 percent of all rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults." (NOW Legal Defence Fund). Yet many of these so-called simple assault regularly escalate and lead to death for the victim. According to the, Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief: Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, at 1 (2003) "In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims."
While domestic violence affects women from all races and class backgrounds, it is occurring at alarming rates within the black community. Much of this has to do with the fact that black women occupy the bottom of the race and class hierarchy. bell hooks theorizes that the black woman has no institutional other and this is made obvious by our continual abuse and marginalization. According to the US Department of Justice, African-American women experience significantly more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 20-24. Generally, "Black women experience similar levels of intimate partner victimization in all other age categories as compared to White women, but experience slightly more domestic violence. (Estimates are provided from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Violent acts include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.)" The American Bar association cites. "Black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races." Domestic violence is the unspoken crime in the black community. It is quite at odds with the medias consistent portrayal of the long suffering, tough, angry black woman. That our blood continues to run like a river down the streets is something that is rarely discussed much less acknowledged.
Though we claim to live in an advanced and liberated society, how can this be truth when daily women are beaten and killed by those that claim to love them? Intimate partner violence is hidden from view. Inside of our suburban Leave it to Beaver homes women are crying out in pain. This is not an issue that we can afford to take lightly. Though there are domestic violence shelters many are struggling to stay open in light of the recent down turn in the economy. Where will women and children turn the next time a man decides that he has the right to violate their bodies?
To those that are daily living this horror, know that it is not your fault. This is an issue of power, and nothing you did or ever could do would make you deserving of having your body violated in this manner. Please seek help. The next time he lifts his hand to you, it could result in your death.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Custody
Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence
The Battered Women's Justice Project