Friday, February 15, 2013


RIP, Reeva Steenkamp

A woman died in South Africa yesterday morning. It (probably) wasn't an accident. Here is an article which is actually 99% about her and only 1% about the guy who (probably) murdered her.

Here's a great cause she supported.

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Absolutely horrific, both her death and the majority of the media's response to it. (The Sun newspaper here in Britain being a particularly egregious example). I'm absolutely sickened and horrified, and am blacklisting any of my "friends" on social media who are using it as an occasion to make jokes about Pistorius.

Nicole Cliffe

Totally. Your "Bladerunner" puns are not funny or inventive.


Did you read this reaction to it in the Guardian? It's a good summary.

The story got me thinking about the Erroll Flyn piece in the most recent Classic Scandals post. It's slightly horrifying thinking how far apart the idealized reputation is from what they might really be capable of.


@Decca Ugh, right? In the Guardian article Marina Hyde is right on the money regarding the bikini shots. Tbh, none of the British tabloids came off particularly well on this on.

RK Fire

@teaandcakeordeath Thank you for sharing that reaction. It was so scathing that I almost want to send it to The Sun alongside a map to all of the burn centers in the UK.

Nicole Cliffe

Oh, it's not the nickname that bothers me, it's the murder puns based on his nickname.


Ahhh. I've heard a couple of people complaining about or complimenting it as if The Sun came up with it yesterday.


Jesus. Why is like, the third most common thing boyfriends do to their girlfriend is murder them? It's like right behind "proposing" and "moving in together," Common Things Boyfriends Do-Wise.


@melis One of the more chilling statistics I've seen is that murder by a husband or boyfriend is also one of the leading causes of death for pregnant women. It is so very disturbing to know the extent to which violence against women is still prevalent.


@melis It makes me think of "The Screwfly Solution," every time (the Alice Sheldon short story), and how horribly familiar it read to me. Nauseating.


@melis The biggest, longest-standing fight I've ever had with my partner was about a woman who murdered her abusive husband in his sleep. (He disagreed that shooting a sleeping man who is clearly going to murder you and your children, eventually, was self-defense.) When this report came on the radio yesterday, we were both silent, and then he turned to me and said, "My views on self-defensive have evolved."


I imagine you've seen the old suffragette pamphlets about how it's men who ought to be ineligible to vote, given their irrational propensities toward violence. It was a joke, meant to parody the argument that women were too emotional to cast their votes wisely. But perhaps it should be taken seriously?


I dont understand it at all. At all. I think I read that they had been together since November which seems so short a time to have generated enough anger for the police to have already been called for 'domestic disturbances'. Why was murder an option and not breaking up? Are men who behave this way just pools of anger waiting to explode?


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll When Israel was experiencing an epidemic of violent rapes and someone at a cabinet meeting suggested women be put under curfew until the rapists were caught, Golda Meir shot back, “Men are committing the rapes. Let them be put under curfew.” If only...


@dtowngirl Pregnancy is one of the factors which can cause domestic abuse to start or get worse. It's very scary.

lucy snowe

@dtowngirl I remember my sister calling me at the start of her 8th month, since women who are 8 months along apparently are on the short list of potential murder victims.

Not that she was worried about her partner, thank god. But... there's a lot of anxiety floating around at the tail end of pregnancy, and that was a handy statistic for her bad thoughts to focus on.


@teaandcakeordeath Abusers don't need time to "generate anger"... to say such a thing is kind of a little offensive, tbh. Relationships (good or bad) don't cause violence- men who believe they are entitled to women as things cause violence. It doesn't matter how long a man and a woman have been involved, DV can occur at any point. DV, and I'd say most of men's violence against women, is not about anger but it is about control. That's why breakups are not really "an option" (which, btw, an option for whom? most DV victims literally think that their abuser will kill them if they try to leave. Often those women are correct).


Sorry to cause offence. It was never intended. For context, when I have seen abuse in relationships it has been in longer relationships where the men have refused to deal with their emotional problems and started lashing out physically at their partner. This behaviour is horrendous and inexcusable. What I was trying to say was that Pistorius was in a relationship for only a few weeks when he started lashing out physically, then he must be this awful pool of anger just waiting to go off on someone.
By saying "Why was murder an option and not breaking up?" I really wasnt being flippant about a person's ability to leave such a relationship, I was genuinely saddened and making a rhetorical remark that he would choose to murder her instead of accepting the break up.
But thank you for calling me on my remark. Your comment made me more aware that there are different types of abuse. Again Im sorry if it sounded like I was flippant. I cannot emphasise enough how much I loathe DV.


It seemed that the story about him thinking she was a burgler spread suspiciously quickly considering the police seemed to know nothing about this.
Just so sad for Reeva


@Chills And that she was shot four times in the head. Just...no.


@itiresias Exactly! From the new reports I heard it sounded like he had way too much security to be worried about break-ins, even in SA .


my god! it's over now!@y



I saw this news yesterday. I was genuinely stumped by the article I read that mentioned domestic violence and the fact that HE KILLED HIS GIRLFRIEND (and probably not because he thought she was a burglar) only once, and the rest of the article was about a) how inspiring this dude is b) how people in South Africa feel unsafe and buy guns to protect themselves from burglars and c) not about Reeva Steenkamp AT ALL.


@wee_ramekin Ditto on the thanks! The article I read this morning (WaPo, though it may have been AP, not sure), only mentioned her as famous for her "vamping." Vamping. Really. The headline might as well have been 'Sex Object Dead.'

dj pomegranate

@wee_ramekin Yes. I read multiple articles yesterday and ZERO of them said anything even remotely close to "If he did kill her, that's really heinous." or even, "Let's talk about domestic violence." It was all like, "this is soooo shocking, he's soooo inspiring!"


@TheBelleWitch Oh wait, my bad, the article also tackled the tough question of whether she was really 29 or actually 30 and lying about it. Sorry, rage blackouts.


@dj pomegranate Yeah! And I think what made me even more head-tilt confused was the fact that the article I read yesterday (can't remember which one it was) was like: "Oh, yeah, PS, the police had been called to his house for multiple domestic disputes".

BUT THAT'S ALL THEY SAID! There was literally one line in ONE paragraph about her actual death and abusive relationship with this man!

I just...I just can't even.


@wee_ramekin Ugh yes, this reminds me of how barely a few months ago, all the articles about Jovan Belcher barely mentioned that he murdered his girlfriend in front of their baby daughter. It was all about how tragic that a linebacker killed himself in front of his coach. Most articles didn't even mention her name. Fucking unbelievable.

dj pomegranate

@yeah-elle Like, do people really NOT NOTICE that murdering your girlfriend is a TERRIBLE THING TO DO? Is it deliberate or just the effects of internalizing the patriarchy or ... ?!?!?!?

(I mean, it's probably all of the above, but I am genuinely baffled at the lack of basic decency like, idk, mentioning names.)


@dj pomegranate I honestly believe it's because there are a lot of people who find it to be kind of understandable - regrettable, but understandable. For whatever reason- bitches are crazy, bitches make men crazy, who HASN'T wanted to murder a girlfriend or wife, etc. It's not like he murdered an INNOCENT person, right? A REAL person? A stranger. A man.

dj pomegranate

@TheBelleWitch "The discrepancy has not been explained."

Well I sure hope someone is on this! Let's get our facts in order, guys!



@aphrabean Right?

And of course, Kasandra Perkins was a 22 year old mother and woman of color, and there were no articles that I saw that spoke about who she was as a person, her aspirations, her personality. Reeva Steenkamp was a blonde white lady, so she gets more attention—albeit, mostly hypersexualized, demeaning attention focused on her phsyical attributes. But I didn't see any articles on The Hairpin like this one about Kasandra Perkins. I know it makes a difference that people are actively defending Pistorius and this will be an ongoing saga, while Belcher killed himself, effectively ending the story right there. But I think it's worth pointing out.


@yeah-elle You are absolutely correct.


To be fair (I have no idea why I am compelled to make points like this, but I am) the fact that he is Oscar Pistorius (Olympian, blade runner blah blah blah) is objectively much more interesting and remarkable than the fact that he shot his girlfriend, which is comparatively commonplace. I mean, we wouldn't be reading about it if he were some random guy. To me this represents selection bias more than it represents an endorsement of violence against women.

dj pomegranate

@Ellie But that, in my opinion, makes it MORE egregious that we aren't talking about domestic violence. This is the perfect opportunity because people are paying attention, even if only for the celebrity.

For instance, this Guardian article: "Oscar has had previous charges against him but we always thought he was a good guy. We thought it was people making something out of nothing, as happens to famous people. We didn't believe it."

Perfect opportunity to at least ask the questions: Why do we ignore so many claims of abuse and domestic violence? Why don't we believe them? How many women are murdered after reporting domestic abuse? He's not some random guy, but random guys do this all the time. Let's at least talk about why, and how to prevent it.


@Ellie Yes - I maintain that we wouldn't have heard much of anything about Chris Brown's altercation in the fancy car had the person he assaulted not been equally if not more famous. It's a bizarre precedent. If Pistorius's model girlfriend had been as famous as say, Giselle, I wonder what the press would look like.
What a strange standard. "She's only not lying about abuse if she's famous, too."


There's no probably about it, he definitely killed her, that's not a dispute. Probably murdered her, yeah.

Nicole Cliffe

@thebestjasmine You know what? I'm gonna change it.


Comment in NYT on their article from Marna:

"14 February 2013 08:20 am will etched be in my memory for a long time. That was when the upbeat radio dj interrupted normal morning programming with the tragic news of Oscar Pistorius. I sat at my desk in disbelief for 10 minutes until the news bulleten on the radio. Valentines day lost all its excitement in that moment for me and many South Africans. It's a day later and i'm still in absolute shock. This man is one of our country's heroes, he is one of our success stories. One of a handful South Africans recognized by the world. We look up to him. He inspires us. He is on the advertisement boards, advertising the Academy Awards and I drive past it every day on my way to gym. I was reading an article about him a few days ago in a magazine where he was on the cover with his sister. How can this happen? My heart goes out to everybody involved. I hope from the bottom of my heart that he comes out on top somehow because, she might have died but he will walk with those emotional scars for the rest of his life."

I can't...I just can't.


@sovereignann@twitter Oh my god, what? "I hope from the bottom of my heart that he comes out on top somehow because, she might have died but he will walk with those emotional scars for the rest of his life." ARGH.


@Verity No, it's not "she might have died". SHE DID FUCKING DIE.


I don't really have anything conclusive to add but I just wanted to let my words tumble out. I was in London all summer and was fortunate enough to get some excellent seats for the Paralympics--I mean, like three rows from the track, right near the finish line excellent. My family was present for Pistorius's record-breaking 400m win, and I, along with the capacity crowd in the stadium, yelled and cheered and exulted and jumped. The noise and joy in the stadium was beyond anything I have ever heard, especially anytime Pistorius even entered the track. I had a crush on him--he was handsome and seemed affable and humble in the interviews I saw. Now I am sickened and saddened and utterly aghast that this happened, and that people are turning it into a disgusting thread of puns about disability and totally ignoring the beautiful (in so many ways beyond how the coverage has been emphasizing) life that was taken away. I don't know how to react, how to think about how I thought about Pistorius during the Paras. It makes me want to cry. I just needed to share.


The Times (of London) front page headline on Saturday was "The Anguish of Oscar". So angry.


I am really lucky that the first article I read about this emphasized Reeva and her interests and accomplishments.

I read something recently about how when a woman is murdered, there's a 50% chance it was done by a current or former partner, but there's only a 10% chance of that when a man is murdered. Not downplaying men's murders, but emphasizing the terrifying likelihood that a woman victim was killed by someone she once loved.


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