Guest post by: Karen Wullaert DeKett, MA, LPC DV/SA Therapist
Currently, FX is running a ten-part series called The People vs. OJ Simpson. The series follows the 1995 double murder trial of famed football player and actor, OJ Simpson. Simpson was accused and later acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and an acquaintance of hers, Ronald Goldman. Much of the prosecution’s case against OJ focused on the fact that he had a long history of physical and emotional abuse against Nicole.
During one scene, prospective jurors are being interviewed about their impressions of both OJ and Nicole. Most jurors have relatively positive things to say about OJ, like he’s handsome and successful. When asked about Nicole, many jurors say negative things about her, like she’s a gold-digger or that she was not truly a victim of domestic violence.
When we hear about a case of domestic violence, it can be tempting to focus on a victim and her behavior (i.e., why did she stay or what did she do to provoke the abuse). At HAVEN, we believe that no one enjoys, provokes, or deserves to be abused by someone else. We miss out on a crucial opportunity to intervene when we become overly-focused on the victim. As long as people are perpetrating abuse, there will always be victims being affected by it. As a culture, if we want to get serious about ending domestic violence, we need to switch our focus to the perpetrator.
The wheel below was created to demonstrate an effective collaborative community response to the issue of domestic violence. It is based on the belief that battering is unacceptable; this guides all institutions and systems within the community to place their focus on the abuser and to expect full accountability from him.
To solve any problem, you must go to the source of the issue. By holding abusive men accountable for their actions, we take one step closer to ending domestic violence.
Community Accountability Wheel: developed by Mike Jackson and David Garvin,
Domestic Violence Institute of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Adapted from the Power and Control Wheel developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, Duluth, MN.