LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -- On the topic of domestic violence, Hope House CEO Mary Anne Metheny said a lot has changed in 25 years, but we still have a long way to go.
“Because we all know people who are victims of domestic violence, we may not know, that we know that, but we all do because it’s happening all the time every day to people all across our community,” Metheny said.
Metheny maintains O.J. Simpson’s celebrity status helped a lot of people realize domestic violence wasn’t just something that happens on the bad side of town at the hands of people who seem evil. In fact, you frequently can’t tell who the worst offenders are.
“Regardless of whether he did it or didn’t do it, she was a victim of domestic violence,” Metheny said.
Nicole’s murder may still be unsolved, but the story itself, in a sad twist, helped other victims of domestic violence get help and showed them steps they can take to get safe steps Nicole took despite the outcome.
Investigators were able to gather the contents of her safety deposit box after her murder and during the trial, jurors were shown pictures of Nicole’s battered face she’d filed away. They read disturbing diary entries detailing more than a decade of abuse, all evidence, said prosecutors, collected by Nicole in case something ever happened to her.
The jury also heard 911 tapes captured after the two had separated when Nicole frequently reached out to police for help.
Nicole: “Could you get somebody over here now, to Gretna Green. He's back. Please.”
911 dispatch: “What does he look like?”
Nicole: “He's O.J. Simpson. I think you know his record. Just send somebody over.”
A screaming O.J. can be heard threatening Nicole after forcing his way into her home while their two little children slept upstairs.
911 dispatch: “Okay, just stay on the line.”
Nicole: “I don't want to stay on the line. He's going to beat the s--- out of me.”
911 dispatch: “Wait a minute…”
O.J.: “You know, I don’t give a s--- any more mother-----s.”
In the end, none of Nicole’s efforts to gather evidence was enough to find O.J. guilty of her murder, but Metheny said she definitely helped other victims and likely saved some lives.
“Unfortunately, it took her dying for that conversation to happen. But that is one of the things that I think she could rest knowing that her experiences have helped move this issue forward,” Metheny said.
We’ve come far in the fight against domestic violence, but we’re nowhere near finished. Metheny said there’s only one reason why we continue to allow it.
“If we as a society can come together and say this is not ok, we will end it,” Metheny said.
If you or someone you know is suffering and needs a safe place to go or just someone to talk to, you can call the metro abuse line at 816-hotline. All area shelters are linked there.