This letter reflects the opinions of business administration freshman Lyndsey Benner. Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.

The “trial of the century” happened about 24 years ago, but in 2016, it was brought back to life in the ten-episode television series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

O.J. Simpson was being tried for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Both victims were stabbed to death and Nicole was almost fully decapitated. The show focused on many aspects of the case including problems with race, the media, DNA testing and domestic violence.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 5 college students have experienced domestic violence from an intimate partner. Cal Poly’s campus needs to be aware of this issue as it is relevant in many student’s lives. Learning about the O.J. case can bring even more attention and light to this issue and help students recognize domestic abuse situations.

O.J. Simpson abused his wife Nicole on multiple occasions — she called 911 on him on at least eight separate times. However, he only was punished once in 1989 after she was beaten so badly she had to be hospitalized. Nicole was cut up, swollen and left with a black eye. O.J. ended up only having to serve 120 hours of community service and two years of probation. He should have been stopped on the first incident and it was shocking to me police let these incidents keep occurring until it got to this point. His punishment was not taken seriously enough and would likely not cause him to stop his abuse.

According to the Washington Post, 83 percent of white Americans and 57 percent of black Americans believe O.J. was “definitely” or “probably” guilty of the two murders. If O.J. had gotten a more severe punishment and help with his domestic violence issues before June 12, 1994, maybe the victims would still be alive.

Many famous men have received light punishments for domestic violence abuse. Two examples are Chris Brown and Eminem. If they had received reasonably harsh punishments after the first incident of abuse, many problems could be solved and set a precedent that this type of behavior is not acceptable. Victims often times are scared to speak up because they do not think they will be believed and their abuser may have more opportunity for abuse. Regular men and women commit domestic abuse every day so this type of violence is not limited to the rich and famous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every minute in the U.S., 20 people are abused by their intimate partner.

Even though the case was many years ago, these same issues continue in our world today. Watching the O.J. case can teach people to speak up right away if they are a victim of domestic abuse and demonstrates how our police officers need to be trained to recognize and confront the abuse. Also, we all need to recognize that anyone can commit a crime no matter how they appear or act in public. You should never doubt someone speaking out about domestic abuse just because the accused person has a respectable reputation. You never know what could happen behind closed doors.

The issue of domestic violence needs to be stopped and no longer just ignored or not seen as a big issue. There are people suffering every day and action needs to be taken in America and on our campus.

*This letter has been edited for grammar and clarity.

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