Here we go again, victim to blame

Heartbreaking enough that anyone experiences violence from their partner, what’s worse is that often enough the victim is blamed.

Anyone who doesn’t know the Pistorius case probably isn’t reading here because they mustn’t have tv or internet access.  The case is yet to be decided but already in the public court the innocence of the victim is being slandered.

In a post (since removed) on his Facebook page Chief Femi Fani-Kayode had the following to say:*

The initial “accidental-shooting burglar theory” has been dismissed by
the South African police. According to the BBC there are speculations
that there have been previous acts of domestic violence and altercations
between the couple, that there was a terrible argument going on just
before the shooting and that this is a straightforward case of
cold-blooded murder probably as a consequence of high passion.

Whatever the the truth may be, all I can say is that this is a great
tragedy and we need to be careful about the kind of women that we spend
our time with. Any woman that stirs up your anger and constantly
provokes your wrath ought to be avoided like a plague. It is those that
bring peace and tranquility into our lives that we should cherish.

I have little doubt that Pistorius, who was a great achiever, a living
icon, the greatest and best known African sportsman in world history and
an absolute gentleman, was provoked into a murderous rage by his pretty
little lover and that she played on his insecurities and inadequacies.
These are the classic traits of the biblical “strange woman”- the
destroyer of men’s dreams and destinies.

Only God knows who sent this creature from the sea into this great man’s
life just to destroy it. For Pistorius it is all over. In one moment of
blind rage he has lost everything and he has brought shame, disgrace,
sorrow and infamy upon his name and that of his family. The blood he has
shed will speak against him and his lineage forever. And all because of
a sexy and pretty little model who the devil sent his way.

May the Lord deliver us all from the daughters of Jezebel, Delilah, Athalia and Yemoja”.

Yes it’s not poor Oscar Pistorius’ fault it’s the defenseless woman who locked herself in a bathroom (presumably to escape what is suspected to have been a several hour long argument) she shouldn’t have provoked the rage that caused someone she loved to fire a gun through a door hitting her wounding her fatally with four bullets.

I’ve had to pause several times while writing this, because it’s hard to separate myself and my experience from what little is understood about what lead to Reeva’s murder.

I know what it’s like to lock yourself in a room and brace the door to hide from the rage of a loved one, and reading this makes me appreciate how lucky I was that there were no guns in our home.

It is not Reeva’s fault that she was murdered, she did not ruin Pistorius’ life he stole hers.

As for other arguments that she should have left what appears to have been an ongoing abusive relationship (Police have confirmed previous domestic disturbances), I agree that it’s a no-brainer that she had more chance of still being alive had she left, but it’s not that simple.  It’s difficult to leave any relationship and it’s compounded in an abusive relationship where more often than not the abuser first breaks down your mental health, confidence and even cuts you off from the support networks you need to be able to leave.  At the same time, saying it was her mistake for not leaving is just another, albeit more subtle, form of victim blaming.  It also overlooks that many women murdered by their partner are in the midst of or have already left the partner in an attempt to escape their violence.  Regardless, Reeva should not have had to leave because the man that she loved should have valued her, her love and the inherent trust she placed in him and never raised a hand much less a gun in her direction. 

I’ve spoken on this issue before (ironically a year exactly before Reeva was murdered) and sadly I feel that I’m going to have continue to relive my experience in the undying hope that others will not have to suffer in the same way.

If you or someone you know needs help please try White Ribbon or other Domestic Violence resources they are here to help.

* Taken from Romance Meets Life


6 thoughts on “Here we go again, victim to blame

  1. As I was reading what that man wrote I wanted to write the exact same could be said for men like you! Women unite you don’t need dickheads and soapbox idiots in your lives get rid of them. I know I’m not even touching on the violence involved but that man made me want to throttle him.

    It is up to the individuals to control their anger, unfortunately the people who really do need help never see themselves as having a problem. The victim is never to blame and especially someone who has had their life taken – how dare people be making comment/judgement on something so terrible.

    My heart bleeds that you went through something like that Lila, I know women everywhere will be thanking you for continuing to put this topic in the spotlight.

    • You’re exactly right Jess, society in general doesn’t need these kinds of idiots around. It made me ragey too, the difference is that we know how to control our temper and behave appropriately.

      Thanks for your continued support Jess, I don’t want these things to be about me but it’s impossible for me to not discuss them in the frame of my experience.I can only hope that being outspoken helps change things at least on a small scale.

  2. I can’t believe that somebody would actually write those words, let alone believe any of them.. totally agree that the Victim Blaming is insidious and dangerous.

    It’s such an awful story and maybe I’m just hormonal but the thought of anyone having to lock themselves in a bathroom to escape someone else’s rage is making me cry 😦

  3. Unreal.

    I don’t watch much grown-up tv, nor read much on the internet so wasn’t aware what the all the controversy surrounding the case was. Those words made my chest ache and anger bubble underneath my skin.

    It goes without saying that anyone with an empathetic, compassionate, human bone/heart/mind/anything in their body could see the ridiculousness of that man’s words. What makes me the most angry is that he holds such a position of power. That his bigoted ideals, values and beliefs feed into decisions that would affect so many people every single day.

    • I’m not much of a TV watcher either but these things pop up on my radar so to speak.

      It is very sad when people of influence hold awful views, it allows it to spread like a virus.

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