Denise Brown Reflects on the Legacy of Her Sister Nicole Brown Simpson’s Murder 30 Years Later: ‘She is More Than Just a Tragic Event’

Thirty years after Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder, her sister Denise Brown has assembled friends and family to reflect on her legacy for the upcoming docuseries, “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.” This four-part series, set to air on Lifetime, takes a different approach than sensationalizing the crime or the infamous “trial of the century” that accused Brown’s ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, of the murder charges, ultimately leading to his acquittal. Instead, it offers an intimate portrait of Nicole Brown Simpson from the perspective of those who knew and loved her.

Scheduled for release on June 1-2, the docuseries also serves as a response to the recent media attention surrounding O.J. Simpson’s death on April 10. Over the past three decades, Denise Brown has been a staunch advocate for victims of domestic violence and has played a significant role in helping pass the Violence Against Women Act.

I will never forget that moment, that day. It was 6:15 a.m. when I heard my mother let out a scream unlike anything I had ever heard before. Without hesitation, I rushed to her room and found her on her knees, uttering the words, “Nicole’s been killed.” Initially, I couldn’t fathom the possibility. After all, we had just seen her the previous night. But deep down, my gut reaction was undeniable. “Oh, my God. He finally did it,” I exclaimed, convinced that O.J. Simpson was responsible. In that very moment, my belief was unwavering, and it remains the same to this day. I have never had any doubts about it — never.

For the past decade, I’ve had a desire to create a documentary. However, I always felt that the timing wasn’t right. My goal was to find someone who could give Nicole a voice without focusing on the trial or her ex-husband. This time, I wanted it to be different. I’ve been let down before, but I hoped that this project could bring some closure – not to the issue of domestic violence, as I will continue to advocate against it for the rest of my life – but to the murder and trial. It was truly heartbreaking to hear people say, “We don’t even know what her voice sounds like.” Nobody ever gave her that chance.

I hope that individuals understand that she was not just a crime story, but a real person. She held various roles in life, including being a mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, and best friend to many. It is crucial for victims to realize that they can seek help. I truly want people to comprehend the gravity of the situation when a victim reaches out to them or calls 911. They are desperate, at their breaking point, and genuinely fearful for their life. It is important to believe them. Victims of domestic violence often hesitate to come forward because they frequently face blame and judgment, with questions like, “What did you do to deserve that?” The blame is always shifted onto the victim. However, there are individuals out there who are willing to assist them. There is hope for these victims.

Before, I was unaware of the cycle of power and control, which encompasses more than just physical violence. Verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse are also forms of mistreatment, such as belittling someone with hurtful words like “You’re stupid,” “You’re ugly,” or “You’re worthless.” Victims of domestic violence often express that these words leave lasting scars, surpassing the impact of physical violence, as bruises eventually fade away. I commend Nicole for bringing attention to domestic violence through her tragic death. It’s important to acknowledge that there is a great deal of shame associated with this issue. Therefore, it is crucial to support individuals who come forward and share their experiences, as it takes immense courage for them to do so.

Losing her life was a devastating experience, and even though her abuser is no longer present, the sorrow and the pain her children feel for losing their mother remain. Watching the documentary brought back all those emotions, and while it was helpful and provided some relief, it was also the most difficult thing to do, especially after three decades. Back then, the shock of the situation was still fresh, but now there is no shock, only the bittersweet act of remembering. It truly broke my heart.

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