Hedda Nussbaum Theory

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Hedda Nussbaum: Villain or Victim The attribution theory presumes that people attempt to try and explain why people do what they do. It seeks to understand the relationship between a person’s traits, attitudes and behaviors (Myers, p.55). In the murder of Lisa Steinberg, people struggled to understand the tragic event which led to various explanations in regards to the reasoning’s and responsibility of Hedda Nussbaum. Nussbaum, the legal custodian of the young girl, was present when she died due to physical abuse. The televised trial captured a large audience that coaxed viewers to decide if Nussbaum was a villain or victim. Upon review of the case details and analyzing the internal and external factors, one can conclude that Nussbaum…show more content…
Nussbaum showed no evidence of maternal instincts. She failed to notify police or medical personnel about Lisa’s severe injuries for approximately ten hours. She was alone with Lisa during this time and didn’t react until the girl stopped breathing. Medical experts testified that Lisa would have survived if she would have received prompt medical attention (Johnson, 1990). It was also reported, by ABC News, that there was evidence that Nussbaum had utilized cocaine during her time of caring for the child (Journey to Tragedy, 2005). Specific details regarding the usage were not provided; however, the fact that she used cocaine before calling 911 is not well perceived or accepted. There were also many incidents in which Nussbaum covered up for Joel Steinberg, her live-in partner, to protect him from going to jail (Journey to Tragedy, 2005). During medical examinations due to abusive injuries, she would provide false information regarding the nature of the injuries. If she could have found the courage to tell the truth, it could have changed everything. The truth regarding the on-going, violent abuse could have prevented Lisa’s death. Nussbaum may have been found innocent by the jurors but her failure to seek timely medical assistance when Lisa suffered head trauma, her drug usage and her failure to communicate the abuse by her husband lead one to condemn her as the symbol of a

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