Stories from Nicole's House...

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Dammit! We Are ALL Guilty! Please Recollect Nicole Brown Simpson...

On Friday June 10, two days before she was murdered, Nicole Brown Simpson seemed in uncharacteristically high spirits. "I want to talk to you," she told her close friend and neighbor Ron Hardy over the phone. "A bunch of things have happened, and I'm excited."

Hardy was delighted to hear it. This buoyant, chatty 35-year-old woman was far different from the furtive Nicole who would abruptly cancel plans and drop out of sight for days or who would grow wary and timid in the presence of her ex-husband O.J. Simpson

Nicole invited Hardy to dinner on Monday. "I thought about it all weekend," says the 37-year-old Los Angeles bartender. "I was praying that she had made the decision not to see O.J. and that she would get on with her life."

Hardy, of course, never got to hear Nicole's plans. Just after midnight on June 13, she was found dead near her friend Ron Goldman outside her Bundy Drive town house in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. With multiple stab wounds in her neck and chest, she was nearly decapitated.

Today, eight months after the horrendous double murder and four weeks into O.J. Simpson's trial for that crime, many of those close to Nicole feel a wrenching self-approach. Although the jury has yet to decide if O.J. Simpson is guilty of homicide, evidence introduced at his trial clearly indicates that Nicole Simpson had long been a victim of domestic abuse.

"Dammit," says one friend, "we are all guilty - all of us who knew them." The Brown family is also in despair that they failed to comprehend the seriousness of the abuse. "They keep asking themselves," says Jean Vaziri, a close family friend, "Why didn't we see it coming?"

Harsh though the question may be, it is impossible to dismiss. There were, after all, many witnesses to the abuse in the Simpson marriage. Friends and family members say O.J. humiliated Nicole in bars and restaurants. Neighbors heard him screaming threats and obscenities. The Brown family saw photographs of her battered face following the infamous 1989 New Year's Day beating. The police, answering her 911 calls, saw a beaten and frightened Nicole and had no doubt that O.J. was her tormentor.

Even after their 1992 divorce, following seven turbulent years of marriage, the situation didn't improve. When Nicole moved to her Gretna Green house, O.J. shadowed her, according to the prosecution, at one point standing in the bushes and peering through the window as she made love to a new boyfriend.

"I'm scared," Nicole later told her mother, Juditha. "I go the gas station, he's there. I'm driving, and he's behind me."

Through it all, however, Nicole, who was ambivalent about seeking outside help, was also let down by those who could have provided it.

"One of the most amazing things to me when you study the Simpson case is that it appeared intervention failed at every level," says San Diego deputy city attorney Casey Gwinn, who runs that city's domestic violence unit. "People didn't write reports when they went to the house. Simpson was not put in jail. Friends and family didn't confront him."

In many ways, though, Nicole's situation is a classic example of domestic abuse among the wealthy and prominent.

"There's a myth that domestic violence is more common in the middle and lower classes," says Joan Farr, director of Metro-Dade Family and Victim Services in Miami. "In fact, it is simply more visible in those classes. They're more likely to call the police or turn to a public agency for treatment. A person in a higher economic bracket can go to a private doctor or psychologist."

And spousal abuse is considered shameful, not a topic for polite conversation.

"We respected her privacy," says Eve Chen, a friend of Nicole's since high school, "and it killed her."