Denise Brown: Educate about domestic violence




The Wichita Eagle

Looking back, Denise Brown can see how domestic violence consumed her sister's marriage before she was murdered in Los Angeles in 1994.

But Denise Brown said she often overlooked the rage exhibited by Nicole Brown Simpson's husband, O.J. Simpson.

Because she knew nothing at the time about the cycle of violence in abusive relationships, Brown said, she never thought to intervene.

"We were at these places where the abuse was taking place, and we didn't know it was happening," she said.

Denise Brown became a national speaker about domestic violence after Simpson was charged with and acquitted of Nicole Brown's murder.

Brown was a guest speaker Tuesday night at a fundraiser for the Wichita Women's Initiative Network at the Wichita State University Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

WIN is a nonprofit organization that provides female survivors of domestic abuse with educational and employment opportunities.

Brown said it wasn't until she read her dead sister's diaries that she realized how her sister had been abused throughout her seven-year marriage.

"Before she was murdered everybody thought she had a wonderful life," Brown said. "But she had that dirty little secret she didn't want anybody to know about."

Brown said she has since learned that abusers and their victims often hide the signs of violence.

"They are very good at hiding the bruises," she said. "Abusers are very good at hitting you where you can hide it."

Brown urged the audience of several hundred to spread the word about the importance of understanding domestic violence.

"Something has to change," she said. "We have to start teaching our youth. We have to start teaching our teenagers."

She said anybody can become the victim of domestic violence.

"I used to read about these things and I thought, 'Oh my God. These poor people,' " she said. "You never think it's going to happen to you. You never think it's going to happen to your family."

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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