On May 2, 1982, Michael Connell visited his estranged wife Karen and their son Ward. Karen and Michael had been separated for more than a year but were seeing each other. A friend of Ward’s also visiting and the four of them were going on a picnic. They never made it.
At around noon, Karen staggered from the house, bleeding profusely from the neck. She collapsed into a neighbor’s arms, gasping that her husband had stabbed her and was still in the house with their 5 year-old son and his friend.
The South Pasadena Police arrived on the scene to investigate. After several attempts to make contact with Michael or the children failed, they contacted the L.A. Sherriff’s SWAT team. The SWAT team, using a bullhorn, requested anyone inside the house come out.
Two boys walked out of the house with their hands up, pleading, “Don’t shoot; we’re the good guys.” The SWAT team forced entry into the house at about 3:00. They found a man lying on the bathroom floor. He had massive slash wounds to his neck area and a stab wound to his chest. The wounds were self-inflicted. Michael Ward Connell was dead.
At the same time, Karen was undergoing an operation at Huntington Memorial Hospital. She had lost seven pints of blood, and her vocal cords had been severed. Her young son Ward had saved her life by jumping on his father’s back and hitting them, screaming, “Don’t hurt my Mom!”
The coroner’s report stated, “Decedent apparently had marital problems with his wife for quite some time.” Karen and Ward had been residents of Haven House, a refuge for battered women and their children.
The Story that Shocked the Country
At 12:05 a.m. on June 13, 1994, Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman were found with their throats slit and heads partially decapitated outside Brown's Bundy Drive condominium in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, California. Her two children, Sydney (age 8) and Justin (age 5), were asleep inside in an upstairs bedroom. O. J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson had divorced two years earlier. Evidence found and collected at the scene led police to suspect that O. J. Simpson was the murderer. Nicole had been stabbed multiple times through the throat to the point of near decapitation; her vertebrae were almost severed. Simpson was arrested and charged with the double murders. Three days later Simpson was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to both murders. During the trial prosecutors argued that Simpson killed his ex-wife in a jealous rage. The prosecutors opened it case by playing a 9-1-1 tape of Nicole Brown Simpson expressing fear that Simpson would physically harm her. The prosecuting spent the opening weeks of trial presenting evidence that Simpson had a history of physically abusing Nicole. However, after nine months of lengthy testifying and cross examinations O.J. Simpson was acquitted.
The drama and tragedy of woman abuse will touch most of us, at some time in our lives, in a very personal way. This could happen directly as a result of our own intimate relationships with lovers or through the experience of some family members and or friends. Whether or not we have been raised in an abusive family environment, we are almost certainly going to have close contact with, and be affected by, someone who has. Domestic violence is on the rise in most countries around the world. Domestic violence is perpetrated against women in most cases. Every 15 seconds a woman is battered. Two to four million are abused each year and 4,000 of them die. Every 45 seconds someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. Domestic violence can be easily distinguished as being a disease which spreads rapidly and occurs in all religious groups, all races, relationships and to people of all ages. The roots to domestic violence lie in the soil of the patriarchal family. The belief that wives are the possessions of a male “head of household” who should control the behavior of all other...