Dear Paula Barbieri

You are said to be in the Dominican Republic, about to marry OJ Simpson. If it's not too late, then - in the name of all that's sane - please think again
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The Independent Online
Don't do it. You will repent at leisure your hasty wedding to OJ Simpson. You have stood by your man through the murder and arrest, living in Florida during the trial. But can you have closed your ears to the daily broadcasts? Did you sequester yourself, like the jury, from the press reports?

If so, let me remind you of the evidence of Nicole's sister, Denise Brown. "He threw her against the wall. ... He beat her like a rag doll. ... We were in a restaurant once and he had been drinking. Suddenly he grabbed Nicole between the legs. He grabbed her crotch and kept his hand on it. He looked her in the eyes. His eyes were full of rage. And he said: 'Remember, honey, this belongs to me. To ME!' "

He beat her until she crawled out of the house. One New Year's Day the police, called yet again, found Nicole hiding in the bushes, quivering with fear, dressed only in bra and sweatpants. OJ, furious, shouted: "This is a family matter. I don't want this woman back in my bed. I have got two women in my bed and I don't want this woman back in my bed again!"

After her divorce, Nicole left a note and a photograph of her bruised face in a safety deposit box. The note said: "If anything happens to me, you know who did it." Well, maybe he did, and maybe he didn't. It doesn't much matter now. But no one disputes the violence of this man.

Do you imagine you can change him? Are you suffering from that catastrophic hubris that afflicts women who think that they, and they alone, have the magic to transform monstrous men? Words of love and devotion, promises of reform - "You, only you, can save me from myself" - these are lethal blandishments to women who relish becoming emotional Florence Nightingales. But those words will be forgotten if he smashes your head against the bedroom wall. And will you forgive him when he begs for another chance, and another, and another? Too many women do.

Maybe you want a share of the money, pouring in by the millions now. Maybe you make a shrewd calculation that the one thing he cannot do now is beat up a woman. In a couple of years' time you could turn your back on him and walk away with a fair-sized fortune. (He was paid $1m this week just for selling photos of his reunion with his children.) But that is a high-risk strategy, since men who beat women don't reason these things out. It won't be easy money.

And how about the rapacious, insatiable, in-your-face public infidelity? Can you take that, too? One witness said: "The basic deal in the marriage as far as OJ was concerned, was this: 'I can sleep with whoever I like and you can sleep with me, OK?' "

Well, is it OK with you, Paula?

Women often step into Bluebeard's forbidden blood-spattered room all unawares. But what kind of sap are you to close your eyes to this overwhelming evidence?

POLLY TOYNBEE

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