Required reading on the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Murders Without Murderers by Mallory Ortberg.

A CBS article about the killing of Reeva Steenkamp ran this morning with a quote from Oscar Pistorius in the headline: “She Died In My Arms.” Reeva Steenkamp died in Oscar Pistorius’ arms because Oscar Pistorius killed her. Her death was not something that happened to him. He did not stumble upon a tragic tableau and cradle her, Pietà-like, while she expired; it was an act he committed. A few years earlier, he had been arrested for assault against another woman.

One of the most basic truths about domestic violence is that it gets worse over time. There is rarely a sudden snap; a woman is hurt repeatedly until she is hurt so badly that she dies from it. These stories are written about murders without a murderer, as if there were no warning signs and there was no possible way anyone could have predicted what would happen.

We need to start questioning this shit:  the shit of “he must have just snapped” and the shit of “if a person is supremely physically fit they must also be an upstanding moral citizen” and the shit of reducing Reeva Steenkamp to no more than “Pistorius’ slain model girlfriend”.

It’s all part of the same shitpile.  The shitpile is patriarchy.  It assumes men are always heroes and women’s lives are worth less – or worthless.  It protects us because it tells us we have no blame to bear in the murder of Reeva Steenkamp or hundreds of thousands of other women, because it says “you could not have predicted this, despite all the many, sustained warning signs.”

Dig yourself out of the shitpile.


  1. David

    Yeah, I don’t understand that myself, it’s as if people have already forgotten that he shot her 4 bloody times!! That’s overboard even for an intruder. The thing that I find the most surreal over this whole story however, is the fact the angry little fu*k got bail, how does that stack up?