Oscar Pistorius Poster Boy for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

by Annie Kaszina on October 22, 2014

Could the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial have been much worse?  Could it possibly have come at a more appropriate time than Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

It’s true, 300 hours of Community Service and House Arrest would have been worse, but the message Judge Masipa’s verdict sends to the world is deplorable:  South Africa has to be one of the best places in the world to kill your wife, or girlfriend and, Domestic Violence is still, above all, a private problem for the family of the victim.  It is NOT a problem for which Society feels responsible.

Reeva Steenkamp’s death was simply bad luck.  She was killed, this much everyone acknowledges.  But she was killed because she was with the wrong man, and had made a few wrong judgements.  Had it not been her, there is every reason to suppose that it would have been some other love of Pistorius’s life. He was known to have a fascination with guns, and a short fuse, as well as the odd personality problem.  Sooner or later, he would have got angry with another girlfriend who might also have ended up in the toilet in the middle of the night, with the same result.

oscarsmallOscar Pistorius was a high profile time-bomb waiting to explode.

Just like all perpetrators of Domestic Violence.

Oscar Pistorius is, allegedly, a ‘broken man’, now.

Tough, isn’t it?

Reeva Steenkamp is a murdered woman, so that’s alright then.  We don’t have to take into account the life she might have had, the good that she might have done, the future she will never have.

Reeva’s parents are grieving, traumatized… I hesitate to say ‘broken’ because Oscar has the monopoly on ‘broken’, and being disabled.

Sadly, a lot of people are disabled.  Most of them don’t go round blasting holes in people with a gun.  Most of them aren’t anywhere near as privileged as poor ‘broken’ Oscar Pistorius.

Life was tough for Oscar – allegedly.

Any perpetrator of Domestic Violence will let you know how tough Life has been for them.

Life may well have been tough, at times, for Reeva Steenkamp.  Death has certainly been tough for her.

She wanted to combat Domestic Violence.

Instead she became a statistic.

She was bright, beautiful, loved, and unlucky.

Maybe she was a touch naïve.  The text she sent Pistorius, in which she says she’s frightened of him, should have triggered red flags and alarm bells for her.

It didn’t.  And that’s no surprise either.

According to Judge Masipa, sometimes in relationships you do feel frightened of your partner.

You sure as hell do if you’re with a perpetrator of Domestic Violence.

And, for all we know, that is what Judge Masipa is used to: she may well have seen it in the family she grew up in, or in her own relationship.  Domestic Violence is pretty common – even usual – after all in South Africa, just as it is in the rest of the world.

Fact is, nobody should die because they are a tad naïve.

But Domestic Violence is unforgiving…  Well, unforgiving as far as the victim is concerned.

The perpetrator often comes out of it quite well.  In Oscar Pistorius’s case, he should come out of it remarkably well.

At worst, he’ll do a short stint in prison, before returning to the bosom of his community.  There’ll be a film made about the whole tragic affair, and he will doubtless cash in on it one way or another.  Not that the poor ‘broken’ lad is short of money now.

He’ll very publicly nurse his broken heart for a while and then he’ll find some wonderful woman who will help this broken man to heal again.  She’ll be beautiful, of course, and quite probably blond.  And he’ll probably marry her quite quickly.

Will they call their first daughter Reeva, in loving memory of the woman he’ll never forget – allegedly?

Maybe that would be too gross even for Pistorius’s South Africa.  (Or maybe it wouldn’t.)

And will Oscar and that beautiful wife of his live happily ever after?

That would be the best possible outcome – for Oscar – because it would prove that he was a good guy, really.  But just a little trigger happy.

For their own reasons both Oscar and Mrs Oscar will project a façade of perfect happiness to the world.

But will they be happy?

Unlikely.  Oscar will have learned something from his experiences, and he will rein in – somewhat – some of his worse tendencies.  But, chances are, he will still be volatile, still be someone who has his partner walking on eggshells around him.

The learnings, such as they are from this sad case, are simple:

1)      Domestic violence is alive in South Africa, and it is doing really well.  Despite any government-sponsored initiatives to improve things.

2)      Walking on eggshells around a partner is a clear indication that you could end up as a statistic.

Most women grossly underestimate their chances of ending up dead in a relationship, until it is way too late.

If it could happen to Reeva Steenkamp it could happen to anyone.  She probably made excuses for Oscar’s temper – given his disability.

Making excuses and walking on eggshells costs lives.

Reeva-Steenkamp (1)

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