February 14 2013:
Olympic athlete and South African hero Oscar Pistorious allegedly shoots his girlfriend four times in the head and chest. Her name is Reeva Steencamp.
February 15 2013:
Reeva's corpse is most likely being sliced open for a post mortem around now. Post mortems are brutal. Her dead body will bear little resemblance to the hot, hot, hot woman she was. She was 30 years old. A man has destroyed her and in doing so has destroyed himself. It's a tragedy beyond description and motive remains unknown. The immediate story had been that he had taken her for a burglar and shot her dead by accident. South African police have denied this. She was shot four times in the head and chest through the bathroom door. Murmurings of domestic violence have leaked out and Oscar Pistorious has been charged with her murder. He denies it in 'the strongest possible terms'.
How does the UK media react? Well, there's a fair chunk about Oscar being a South African hero now fallen, how everything he had achieved is damaged, that everyone is in shock that such a man could do such a thing. There's speculation on why he allegedly killed the girlfriend. Rarely is she actually given her name. She is an extension of him. Half of a power couple. Half of a famous and beautiful couple.
In the UK, The Sun sees fit to print a full colour photo of Reeva in her bikini, breasts centre stage, cheeky pout to the camera. Well, she was a model. And had the audacity to be stunningly beautiful. So, may as well get some use out of those shots eh? Give the miserable assholes who buy this shit something to wank over. Doesn't matter that she is fucking DEAD. As Reeva was a model and a beautiful young woman, it apparently remains fair game to use her body - never mind that her body is now a corpse - to sell a shit newspaper to amoral proles.
Twitter was making actual bile rise in my throat. From the immediate 'jokes' to the unfurling of our revolting tabloid media's reaction to the murder. Bikini shots in the Daily Mail and The Star. A blankness surrounding Reeva as a person because she was beautiful and her job was to pose in lingerie and bikinis. So what, she's rendered a lesser person? What about if it was Oscar himself who had been brutally murdered? Would there be massive pictures of his pecs and would he be referred to as 'the boyfriend'. No he fucking wouldn't.
We are actually going backwards. Lip service is paid to finding violence against women icky but this prevailing, ingrained attitude that women, especially pretty women, are somehow asking for it remains. And that, it's sort of OK. Because people like Rihanna go back to the man who beat the living shit out of her. And all the kids who watch this woman who poses daily by her own choice pretty much naked and uploads pictures to Twitter like some insatiably narcissistic vacuum think it's OK. And they see a media treat a dead woman like an actual piece of meat. And they think it's OK.
And maybe they watch Daybreak on TV. I don't know who would. It's an appalling magaziney type piece of shit. But apparently has an audience. And a Tweet from them caught my attention yesterday I was wrestling with despising people trying to outdo each other with Pistorious 'jokes'.
It said: @daybreak: Controversial question: can women who are drunk and flirty be blamed for being attacked. Some of our viewers think so.
I looked at their feed. It was sandwiched in between lighthearted witterings about films and fashion and the weather and Z list celebs thanking them for letting them come on their shit show. Just sort of light heartedly chucked in there, like they're doing a quick poll on peoples' opinions on the what's happening in Corrie.
Like, oh hey viewers, d'you think if a woman is pissed that it's OK to rape her? Some people do. Huh. Oh look, shiny thing.
What kind of shit is this? What kind of ignorant bastard would not see that treating this subject on a par with what the cast of Loose Women did last night and what's on telly isn't dangerous. Particularly if, apparently, 'some of their viewers' think that a woman who is DRUNK or FLIRTY deserves VIOLENCE? There was no follow up to this. No backtracking. No tweet that said: uh, by the way, violence against women is of course illegal and no woman is responsible for it happening to her because she is drunk.
Fuck you @daybreak and fuck the society that is permeated with casually condoning violence against women. Because that's what is happening here. These comments are not harmless. They are not some opinion poll on a breakfast show. They show an endemic cultural and societal view that, no matter what we witness, no matter how many women are raped, killed, beaten up and emotionally abused, that there is still STILL an underlying patriarchal view that somehow they are asking for it. And if a woman who happens to be beautiful is murdered, it's OK to plaster pictures of her near naked body over the front page of the press the next day.
All women everywhere have the right to walk around stark naked off her face on any substance of her choice and STILL NOT BE ATTACKED, RAPED OR HURT for it. No woman is asking for it ever. EVER. Under ANY circumstances. It doesn't matter if they are a prostitute, a drug addict or an exhibitionist. It makes no difference how they dress, what they wear, how drunk they are. EVER.
I can't believe that in 2013 this is what we are dealing with. It makes me feel so sad. And that it's an almost futile fight.
RIP Reeva Steencamp.