Tanya Brown, ex-sister-in-law to O.J. Simpson, came to the Ragan Theater on March 10 to speak regarding the issue of domestic violence.
Brown was directly affected by domestic violence on June 12, 1994, when her sister Nicole Brown Simpson was viciously murdered.
Inspired by Nicole’s memory, Tanya and her family established The Nicole Brown Foundation, which is dedicated to educating the community on domestic violence.
UVU students also took advantage of the opportunity to learn from self-defense instructor Michael May’s years of expertise. May has dedicated his life to ensuring that his daughter and other women “will never be a thirty-second blurb on the news.”
Not only will “1 in 3 women in the United States be assaulted by an intimate partner in adult life,” said Brown, but “More women have been killed as a result of domestic violence in the past 5 years than lives were lost in the Vietnam War.”
Although women are the primary victims, The National Institute of Justice estimates that 1.5 million women and 850 thousand men are beaten each year, “And these are only the documented cases,” noted Brown.
Another category of victim that Brown said must be accounted for is children. “Kids hear everything,” said Brown. “They don’t sleep through their parent’s arguments. They have their little ears to the wall and sometimes they’ll hide in the closet and other times they’ll try to intervene, and that’s where child abuse originates.”
Domestic violence can ruin a child’s life in a number of other ways. Brown said that specifically 63 percent of young men between the ages of 11 and 20 serving time for homicide killed their mother’s abuser.
Brown stressed the importance of aiding women with children in getting out of abusive relationships. She urged audience members to be proactive in helping others overcome domestic violence, saying that those who remain apathetic are “the silent killers.”
Utah has the second largest domestic violence rate in the country. There are 16 domestic violence shelters in Utah which offer free group therapy and valuable information to victims.