People really hate to believe that their precious celebrities can be vile, dangerous, woman-killers. Unfortunately, they hate it more than domestic violence itself – which claims 1300 lives and causes 2 million injuries per year in America alone. Another chapter in our long narrative of giving violent men the benefit of the doubt unfolded this week with the death of model Reeva Steenkamp at the hands of her Olympian boyfriend Oscar Pistorius. Reeva was brutally murdered and the world weeps – but not for her.
Since news of the murder broke, there has been an outpouring of support over the “distraught” Pistorius. Image after image of Pistorius weeping into his hands and snapshots of the “happy couple” are all over the Internet. This whole thing is making me sick.
Here are some of the details that have emerged. Pistorius lives in a gated community in South Africa. Two hours before her death on Valentine’s Day, cops were called to the scene of Pistorius’ Pretoria mansion over a loud argument. Police had received calls in the past about “domestic disturbances” in the home. A first shot was fired in the bedroom and three more were fired in the bathroom, through the door where Steenkamp was allegedly “cowering.” Now, there are allegations that at bloody cricket bat has been found at the scene, and that Steenkamp’s skull was also crushed.
Clearly, these are all allegations, not substantiated facts. There hasn’t been a trial yet. All we know is authorities feel there is enough evidence to pursue a premeditated murder charge. Now, back to the twisted narrative that is unfolding before our very eyes.
Widespread confusion exists as to whether he “meant” to shoot her four times or not. He “loved” her. He was “happier than he’d been in a long time.” You’d be hard-pressed to find coverage of this story that doesn’t mention the double-amputee’s Olympic feats. Or quotes like this one: “Kenny Oldwage, Pistorius’ lawyer, told reporters the athlete was “emotional” after his arrest, “but he is keeping up.” And this one:
Oscar Pistorius’ agent says the double-amputee Olympian has received “overwhelming support” from his fans as he remains in custody in a South African police station charged with the shooting murder of his model girlfriend… “international fans from literally all over the world” have sent their good wishes to Pistorius.
Reeva’s own father was quoted as saying, ”He must be going through things that we don’t know about. We ask the Lord every day to help us find a reason why this should happen to Reeva.” Maybe that question would be better directed at the man who shot her.
We don’t know beyond the shadow of a doubt what happened here. All we have is the alleged evidence that is being broadcast over every media outlet out there. And it looks bad – really bad. That evidence coupled with the statistic that worldwide 40-70% of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner – and it’s no secret which conclusion we should all be jumping to here. And it’s not “I shot my girlfriend who I love dearly four times by accident because I thought she was an intruder.” That just defies all common sense and logic.
It’s pretty grim that I have to yearn for the day that a woman is killed and we actually weep for her – not feel sympathetic to an abusive partner who chose to end her life.