Denise Brown speaks in Madison for renewal of Violence Against Women Act Madison


The former sister-in-law of O.J. Simpson is trying to rally support for renewing the federal Violence Against Women Act. Denise Brown was in Madison Tuesday morning, speaking to a group that helps victims of domestic abuse find shelter.

Denise Brown helped get federal legislation passed that provides money for the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence. The Violence Against Women Act was originally passed in 1994: the same year her sister Nicole was murdered. Her husband, O.J. Simpson, was later acquitted of charges that he killed her. Brown recalls how then-Sen. Joe Biden wanted her to disprove some myths about who becomes victim to abuse and help move the stalled legislation, “(Biden) asked me to come to Washington, because it was stalled in Senate appropriations. They (opponents) thought this VAWA didn’t need to be passed because it only happens to poor and homeless women.”

This year, renewal of the 2012 Violence Against Women Act has been opposed by conservative Republicans. They object to extending the Act’s protections to same sex couples, and to provisions allowing battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas.

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Despite the differences between the versions passed by the Senate and House, Brown remains confident: “I don’t know I just have faith. I think they’re going to do the right thing.”

In Wisconsin, 58 people died from domestic violence related incidents in 2010. According to a report by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, those numbers include both victims and perpetrators.