Nicole Simpson, Johnny Depp Amber, Olivia B Waxman discussed on TIME's Top Stories
How celebrity cases like the Johnny Depp Amber Heard trial have shaped the national conversation about abuse. By Olivia B waxman. As a defamation trial between actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, actor Amber Heard, continues in fairfax, Virginia. The headline making case is raising awareness of domestic violence, as the two accuse one another of abuse. It's too soon to tell where the trial will fit in the history of the subject, but experts who study domestic violence say the lawsuit has the potential to help shape the national and global conversation about abuse just as a number of high profile incidents have done before. The modern history of that evolution begins with O. J. Simpson, though he was acquitted in the 1994 murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, Simpson's trial during which details about the violence she suffered were presented by prosecutors is seen as a watershed moment for the understanding of domestic violence, says Danielle's slay cough and assistant Professor of criminal justice at Sacramento state university, who studies media portrayals of criminal justice. Domestic violence had long been seen as a private matter about which both abusers and sufferers kept largely quiet. The nationally televised trial exploded that wall of silence, asking viewers to consider the consequences of violent behavior within a relationship. There was such a lack of understanding about domestic violence before the case, and now it is much more common that people understand what domestic violence is. Slay cough says. The increase in awareness led to tangible policy change, president Clinton signed the violence against women act vala into law on September 13th, 1994. You can draw a direct link between the OJ trial and the creation of the first ever national domestic violence hotline, which was created by the violence against women act fund, says Rachel Louise Snyder, author of no visible bruises, what we don't know about domestic violence can kill us. And so suddenly, victims in communities had a place to go. They had a phone number to call. They had some resources to consult. The trial also led to a lot of smaller media organizations and newspapers for the first time ever reporting on domestic violence and reporting on domestic violence in their communities. A few weeks after Nicole Simpson was murdered, time ran a cover story on the subject, headlined when violence hits home. The magazine described the influx of calls to domestic violence shelters. Last week, phone calls to domestic violence hotlines surged to record numbers. Many battered women suddenly found the strength to quit their homes and seek sanctuary in shelters. Although it has been two years since the American medical association reported that as many as one in three women will be assaulted by a domestic partner in her lifetime, 4 million in any given year. It has taken the murder of Nicole Simpson to give national residence to those numbers. Everyone is acting as if this is so shocking, says Debbie Tucker, chairman of the national domestic violence coalition on public policy. This happens all the time. In Los Angeles, where calls to abuse hotlines were up 80% overall last week, experts sent a sort of awakening, as women relate personally to Simpson's tragedy..