Reeva Steenkamp is dead

That was her last tweet: eight hours later she was dead, shot four times in the head and the arm.

Reeva Steenkamp & Oscar Pistorius Police have arrested Reeva Steenkamp’s boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, for allegedly shooting her dead at his home in a gated community in Pretoria: a murder investigation has been opened. News report 14th Feb:

Details about the incident remain unclear. There was speculation in the local media that Pistorius may have mistaken her for a burglar and the shooting could have been a result of a Valentine’s Day surprise gone wrong. Local media suggested that Steenkamp may have been trying to surprise her boyfriend in his home on the heavily guarded compound and had been mistaken for an intruder. She was shot four times in the head and the arm.

“I can confirm that a woman has been fatally wounded in a shooting at Oscar Pistorius’s house,” said the police spokeswoman. “A 26-year-old man has been taken into custody,” she said. “The incident happened at 3am. We received a call and attended the scene. The call did not come from the man in custody but from another person. Currently there is an inquiry into what happened.”

Justice Malala, writing in the Guardian about Reeva Steenkamp’s death, mentions Oscar Pistorius by name 10 times, Steenkamp not once except as:

Pistorius, hero, had gone from being a figure of sympathy in the morning – when stories went viral that the shooting of a woman at his house may have been a case of mistaken identity – to being accused of murder in the evening as police revealed there were reports of shouting at his house the evening before.

In the morning, though, when the story first broke, there was no touching Pistorius. His model girlfriend – a sign of status among jock sportsmen – was coming in to give him a Valentine’s surprise, went the story.

Carrie Dunn at the FWord:

Ah, it’s a “domestic”. If a woman dies but not her partner, it’s a “domestic”; or maybe, even more excitingly, “a crime of passion”. It’s not a terrible, awful murder-suicide resulting in the loss of a sporting talent in the world.

It’s just “his girlfriend” who’s been murdered; Pistorius is still alive, so he’s not “tragic” – he can be the butt of jokes (mostly focusing on his disability, though there are also some about the fact that this happened on Valentine’s Day), and Steenkamp is simply collateral damage, mentioned – if she’s mentioned at all – as “his girlfriend”.

In South Africa, a woman is killed every 6 hours by an intimate partner.

One Billion Rising, 14th February 2013

On 11th September 2014, Oscar Pistorius was acquitted of intent to murder Reeva Steenkamp, after he shot her four times through a closed door: he was only “negligent”.

But on 6th July 2016, Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to six years for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. Judge Masipa said there were “substantial and compelling reasons” to deviate from the 15-year minimum sentence for murder, accepting that Oscar Pistorius hadn’t meant to kill Reeva Steenkamp when he fired through the toilet door.

8 Comments

Filed under Women

8 responses to “Reeva Steenkamp is dead

  1. Luna

    Poor Reeva.
    I hope justice is served.

  2. Have you seen today’s front cover from The Sun? Am fuming on so many levels today.😦

  3. Kellie

    Terrifyingly precise example of how most violence against women is reported.

    • Not linking to them, but the front pages of the Sun and the Star both opted for bikini shots of Steenkamp. Neither mention her by name. In fact all today’s British headlines are very much “Pistorius shot whatsername”.

  4. Bluecat

    Yeah, it was a while before I found out her name from the news. And the Sun – gawd! But the Sun is beneath contempt at the best of times.

  5. Pingback: Love, loss and libraries – Scottish Roundup

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