top of page

OJ Simpson and Domestic Violence

Updated: Apr 17

OJ Simpson is dead.  Many people believe he literally got away with murder. I was at my gym with everyone huddled around the TV set when the "not guilty" verdict was read aloud. The disillusionment, disbelief and disgust from the crowd were audible, loud and profound. 

When the OJ Simpson murder case arrived in the courts, I was living in Seattle at the time and was on the local news programs discussing as well as lecturing and writing about the psycho-dynamics of domestic violence, battered women and psychopaths/sociopaths: why women stay, gaslighting, brainwashing, how it affects the children, the self-belief of psychopaths that they are above the law, plus their lack of ethics, morals, honesty, character, empathy and compassion, plus their duplicitous ability to be sweet and charming when they want something and then turn murderously violent the next second, going undetected for so many years because of their victims' fear of reporting them to law enforcement. 

Some men are battered and who are victims of female violence as well, in addition to gay situations of both genders and of transgendered people - embarrassed to come forth because of their belief that no one will believe them and/or will discriminate against them in reporting it.

Psychopaths/Sociopaths - which include all genders - are dangerous people. Some run large and small companies, some run drugs and guns, some run and have sex trafficked children teens, men, women and all genders; some run their families and other people's lives like drill sergeants through fear, threats, intimidation and/or emotional blackmail. 

Intermittent reinforcement is one of their tactics: nice one minute and violent the next. Their unpredictable pattern is crazy-making and keeps people hooked, hoping that the perpetrator will change with more love and caring; or believing that they - the victim - can cope with it. Both are delusions that must be confronted, exposed and drastically changed.

Batterers need professional help - intense, direct and confrontational psychotherapy from experienced licensed therapists; anger management to face their own childhood battering, domestic violence and abuse - mental, physical, emotional and/or sexual - and to learn verbal skills to express themselves calmly instead of resorting to violence.

Many batterers and victims were battered children and grew up in domestic violence homes - so the pattern is learned behavior and what they believe is the "normal" way to resolve differences, problems and conflicts through anger, rage, hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, throwing, raping, etc.,  instead of rational discussion, sharing of perspectives, hearing each other correctly without distortion or filters, active listening, agreeing to disagree and collaborating on a win/win resolution without violence. 

Many battered children believe they deserve violent treatment - that they did something wrong and are at fault - and perpetrators reinforce this belief to keep them passive and compliant, which is another tactic of batterers.  This is why they grow up to marry batterers and the dysfunctional pattern continues. Domestic violence can be and has been the cause of permanent injury or death.

"The Five F's" explain victims' coping and defense mechanisms: Freeze, Flight, Fight, Fright or Faun.

1) Freeze - being a deer in the headlights and emotionally/physically paralyzed to take action, terrified that one false move will result in their death;

2) Flight - running for your life to a neighbor, the police, a teacher, a counselor, a school security guard, a principal, a school nurse or even a stranger;

3) Fight - attempting to hit, kick, bite, scream, punch, hit or any form of self-defense to escape;

4) Fright - being so terrified, your brain is not engaging and you're not thinking clearly; and

5) Faun - attempting to placate the abuser, calm them down, sweet talk them, allay their fears and get them to stop the rapes, violence, screaming and the mental, physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse of the batterer, sometimes to buy enough time to escape.

Victims become survivors when they change their mindset, when they escape and call for help, get a ride, go to a police station, file police reports, get to a shelter, go underground, flee to another state, change their identity and some dare to face their abusers in a court of law to get permanent injunctions and restraining orders to protect themselves and their children.

Greyson's Law was passed in Florida to protect ex-mates as well as children of batterers after 4-year-old Greyson Kessler was killed by his father, who then committed suicide. The judge failed to protect Greyson, despite the mother Ali Kessler's continued pleas to include her son in her injunction. The judge sent the child to visit with his father, which led to Greyson's death in May 2021. A thank you to State Senator Lori Berman (D-Palm Beach, then D-Boca Raton), State Representatives Michael Grieco (D-Miami) and Hillary Cassel (D-Dania Beach) for their efforts in passing SB 130/HB 97.

Enlightening law enforcement, the military, ER staff, medical professionals and the public about the dynamics of domestic violence has been part of my job over the years.  

In 2000, I moved back to Orlando after hosting, "Ask the Family Therapist" on AHN - America's Health Network - which was associated with Mayo Clinic - both which vetted me and hired me - and which aired from Universal Studios from 1996-1997. 

I was asked by the then Orange County Florida Sheriff Kevin Beary himself, to do CIT - Crisis Intervention Training - for the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Florida Sheriff's Office at The Range, Lakeside Alternatives and at Florida Hospital, now Advent Health, where I also separately taught the required Domestic Violence class to the student nurses, as well as volunteering and giving a seminar to the residents of Harbor House, Orlando's Domestic Violence Shelter for Women and Children.

One telltale sign to nurses is that the batterer refuses to let their victim speak to or be alone with the nurse(s) or doctor(s) for fear of the victim disclosing the abuse.

Witnessing the bruises, red marks, choking, fingerprints and hand prints of the slaps and strangulation, should be proof to student nurses that the victims' lame excuses and lies, "I fell...I hit a doorknob...I didn't look where I was going..." are all signs of abuse and to report it immediately to the police and security on the staff, plus to DCF - Department of Children and Families, also known as CPS - Child Protective Services, and other similar names in various states. 

The death of OJ Simpson has reminded us of all of these issues and the many advancements that have been made since then in recognizing, reporting, and preventing domestic violence.

May the progress continue until domestic violence disappears completely. We can educate, publicize, and pray that it does.

Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, whose information is listed below.


Linnda Durre', Ph.D., LMHC (FL #MH6058), NCC (#17539), NBFE/CFMHE (#000234), has been in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist and counselor, beginning in California (MFCC #M12566), then the State of Washington (LMHC #2619 and LMFT #852) and now in Florida for 24 years (MH #6058) She has appeared on Oprah, 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The O'Reilly Factor (twice), Canada AM, NPR, PBS, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, and she has written for Forbes, Management Issues, AOL, Yahoo, Arts & Understanding Magazine, and Orlando Leisure Magazine. Her book, "Surviving the Toxic Workplace: Protect Yourself Against the Co-Workers, Bosses, and Work Environments That Poison Your Day" (McGraw Hill, 2010) is on Amazon, McGraw Hill's website, and at Barnes and Noble. 


bottom of page