The woman whose life he took is forgotten

Remember when the interim director of the Berkeley Astronomy department said: ““Of course, this is hardest for Geoff in this moment”?

Now it’s Oscar Pistorius who is “in need of healing.”

[A] justice system serves society with a split purpose. There’s punishment of the perpetrator and an element of rehabilitation (which has been vigorously stressed in this case – the terms of his house arrest include community service).  And there’s also the strong social message that the justice system serves: through its sentencing, it makes a comment on the seriousness of the crime and how profoundly it will be perceived. This is the sticking point.

Judge Thokozile Masipa had to deal with the facts in front of her, and mete out a sentence as appropriate. But the parole board decision to release Pistorius from prison today measures the life of a woman, violently taken, in just a few short months behind bars. The value of South African women’s lives is set at an all-time low.

When the homepage of a major South African news site carries a story saying that Pistorius is ‘broken and in need of healing’, we, as women, are told that the perpetrator of the most violent of crimes is actually the victim, in need of comfort and protection, while the woman whose life he took is forgotten, edited out the story, just another statistic in a justice system that served her poorly.

We must make sure the world remembers: #HerNameWasReevaSteenkamp. And it is her life, not her killer’s, which it’s important to include in our ongoing conversation about global rates of violence against women.

And our ongoing conversation about whether or not women even matter.

5 Responses to “The woman whose life he took is forgotten”