I am as horrified as anyone by the tragic killing of Reeva Steenkamp. My heart goes out to her family and friends who must be so shocked, distraught and bewildered by the brutal way she died as a result of the actions of a man who was supposed to love her. There is no doubt that Oscar Pistorius shot and killed her. But what remains to be proved is whether he killed her or whether he murdered her.
From what I’ve seen online over the past week, the internet feminist community is absolutely certain Pistorius deliberately murdered Steenkamp. They’re convinced that the allegations of domestic violence are true and that there is no way Steenkamp’s death could be anything other than murder at the hands of a violent man.
South Africa is undoubtedly a violent country, with horribly high rates of murder, violent assault, sexual assault and rape (not that there’s a rate of those things which isn’t horrible). Feminists know that rates of violence by men against women around the world are shocking and sad and awful, and many of us are infuriated by society’s unwillingness to call it what it is – male violence against women and girls. There seem to be many people who will acknowledge that violence against women and girls exists, but they do not want to admit that the perpetrators of this violence are almost exclusively men and boys. They will admit there is a violence problem but not that there is a gendered violence problem.
It does seem to me that in their anger and pain and frustration about the millions of women who suffer at the hands of abusive men every day, some feminists can’t countenance any scenario other than that Pistorius deliberately murdered Steenkamp. And I think they’re wrong to be so adamant. What I’ve seen in the press coverage doesn’t seem to be conclusive. The police are saying one thing, Pistorius is saying another, various things both camps have said have internal contradictions, and all the things both camps have said are interpreted through the lens of our own prejudices, beliefs, anger and fears.
At this stage I don’t know if it’s worse if Pistorius murdered her or shot her thinking she was an intruder. Which is least awful? Either way a woman is dead who should be alive.
But whatever happened, I don’t think it helps anyone to assume Pistorius is a murderer. There’s no doubt he killed Steenkamp, but like any other person on trial, he should be afforded the courtesy of being treated as innocent until and unless he’s found guilty. Feminists are (rightly) outraged when women are assumed to be lying about being the victims of abuse and assault. I don’t think that means we should assume all men are abusers and Pistorius must be guilty. He deserves a fair trial as much as Reeva Steenkamp deserved to live.
Was in the pool just after 6 this morning to do a km. It was pretty busy and lots of the people in the slow lane with me were very slow swimmers and obviously not confident in the water. That doesn’t bother me – everyone has different abilities and I’m sure I look as awkward to the fast lane people as some of the slow lane people look to me. The slow lane is a very mixed ability lane – it seems to range from almost complete beginners to competent swimmers who are slower than me, competent swimmers about my level and competent swimmers who are faster and fitter than me but not fast enough for the medium lane. I’m easily 15-20 seconds slower than the medium lane swimmers.
So, there were 4 or 5 very slow swimmers in this morning so there were times when I had to overtake or take over 2 minutes per length/risk sinking through swimming so slowly. I think I tried hard to be a considerate overtaker, waiting till there was plenty of space, passing as far over as I could and not moving back in until I was well ahead to minimise splashing/kicking people in the head. However on at least two occasions I was overtaking about 10m from the end of the lane and hindered by some of the less confident swimmers choosing to set off from the end I was approaching at exactly same time as they saw me passing the person I was overtaking, leaving me with no room at all. Now, I know you’re thinking “why bother overtaking so close to the end?” and my answer to that is “because these people repeatedly failed to let me pass at the end.” Seriously, even though I was giving them a 25m head start and still on their heels by the end of the length, they would not wait three seconds to let me pass them at the end of the lane. So I was trying to get past them where there was obviously room to do so to prevent a bottleneck going the other way. And there were lots of lengths where there was no space to overtake at all so rather than barge past I stayed behind people and floated along behind them hoping they’d let me past at the end (which they never did).
Anyway, after about 12 lengths the pool attendant called me over at the end of the lane and explained that some people had complained I was overtaking and asked if I wanted to move to the medium lane. I explained that I am way too slow for the medium lane and we had a chat about how the slow lane is a very mixed ability lane. I said I wouldn’t be happy in the medium lane because I know I would be holding up every single person in that lane, and he said fair enough, in that case you’re better off in the slow lane and overtaking safely. So I said well, I am trying to overtake safely and I hope I’m not being risky or selfish in my overtaking but if you have concerns about how I’m doing it, I’m happy to be told, and he said no, I’ve been watching and you’re fine with what you’re doing so carry on. So I carried on but it really felt awkward after that. It really bugs me when people in the slow lane charge past everyone just for the sake of it and overtake badly just because they have to get past and I try really hard not to do that, and it’s upset me to think people think that’s what I’m doing, especially when they don’t have the sense to wait two seconds at the end to give me time to get past them without overtaking. And really, you’d think people would understand that it’s possible for someone to be faster than them but still not fast enough for the medium lane.
One of the regular women I see most mornings asked me what was going on so I told her about the conversation with the guard, and she said I was fine – my overtakes were fine and I wasn’t swimming inconsiderately, and then she said it was probably one of the men who didn’t like being overtaken by a woman and then we laughed and then I did my last length and got out feeling a bit better.
It’s time to put pressure on The Sun!!.
I’ll reblog any blog post I see which is throwing out suggestons for what we can do to stop the Scum.
Court in the act.
Interesting suggestions at the end.
I’m certain most people are disgusted at the front page of today’s Sun. If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother looking for it. It’s vile. The Sun’s editor decided it’s appropriate to sexualise and glamorise the murder of a woman by her boyfriend. Reeva Steenkamp hadn’t been dead for 24 hours when the Sun filled its front page with a picture of her posing, pouting, in a bikini, with a headline of sensationalised violence. They tried to justify the picture by saying that Reeva was a model. Yes, she was a model, before she was killed. She was also a law graduate, entrepeneur, presenter and campaigner against violence against women and girls. The Sun could have depicted her in any of those guises, but they did what they always do – they went for the wank-mag shot. Even though the poor woman was shot dead the day before, the Sun still thinks readers should have the chance of a quick wank over her picture.
And the thing is, although I’m angry and disgusted, I’m not surprised. This is what the Sun does. This is how they see women. They don’t care about women as individuals, as human beings, as people with talents and achievements and flaws and real lives. All they care about is what women look like, how hot they are, how big their breasts are and how much skin they show.
Do we really need this vile apology for a newspaper? Isn’t it time the whole country said “no more”? The News of the World had to close after the public realised how badly it had behaved. Surely it’s time the public used their power to shut down the Sun.
Some of the Sun’s regular advertisers are BSkyB, Everything Everywhere, Argos, ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Vodafone and O2. I’ve asked them all to withdraw their advertising from the Sun. Why not do the same?