How did the brutal murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman impact your life? Did you think ~ as I did ~ “there but for the grace of God go I?” Did you realize it was time to break down your own walls of silence?
Today is the 18th anniversary of the day O.J. Simpson brutally murdered Ms. Simpson and her friend Mr. Goldman and got away with it. We are all invited to light a candle tonight to remember them.
Too often Mr. Goldman gets lost in this story. He will always be my hero because he’s the only person who stepped up to the plate to protect Ms. Simpson. He is perhaps the charter member of the Men Against Domestic Violence movement. He was there for her when the rest of the world was busy sucking up to Mr. Simpson. Abuse survivor and Los Angeles Times columnist the late Andrea Dworkin opined:
Surrounded by family, friends and a community of affluent acquaintances, Nicole Simpson was alone. Having turned to police, prosecutors, victim’s aid, therapists and a women’s shelter, she was still alone. Ronald L. Goldman may have been the only person in 17 years with the courage to try to intervene physically in an attack on her; and he’s dead, killed by the same hand that killed her, an expensively gloved, extra-large hand.
Mr. Goldman was there for her when her best “friend” Kris Kardashian Jenner was too busy with her uber-narcissistic life on June 12, 1994. Her late husband had the outrageous audacity to defend Mr. Simpson.
O.J. Simpson is in jail now, but not for the murders. The Goldman family got a measure of justice with a “guilty” verdict in a civil wrongful death trial, but Mr. Simpson never paid the damages assessed by the court.
I couldn’t watch the criminal trial. It did, however, help me appreciate that I was very lucky to still be alive. I wasn’t the only domestic violence survivor to feel this way or to know without a doubt that Mr. Simpson was guilty. We silently and collectively knew we couldn’t remain silent. A lot of us wished we knew someone with Mr. Goldman’s courage, integrity, and strength of character. We all admired the Goldman family for their outspoken grace during an unbelievably painful time.
When the Goldman family came to the Chicago area on their book tour to promote His Name Is Ron: Our Search for Justice, I drove over 100 miles to meet them and express my condolences. After hearing my story, Kim Goldman asked me to break my own silence. I promised her that I would. I had no idea at the time that the first person I would tell was Oprah Winfrey after she announced Black & Blue as her book club selection on Maundy Thursday, 1998.
Today I hope time has helped the Goldman and Brown families heal. I pray that they are able to recall Ron and Nicole with a smile on their lips rather than a tear in their eyes. I pray they have found peace. We will never forget.