I’ve been following the Oscar Pistorius case over the past few weeks.
When Reeva Steenkamp was killed by her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013 it struck a chord, and here’s why.
“If it all sparks off aim for the bathroom, lock yourself in, and call the police.” It was the advice I received from my outreach worker, I never did ask why the bathroom? It’s not as if I could have climbed out of the window. I’d made plans for 18 months to leave him, and although he had threatened to kill me and the children, I still loved him, I still hoped that I could keep the charming guy I fell in love with, rather than the monster I didn’t want to believe he was. As I weighed up the pros’s and con’s of leaving I wrote him a letter, it was one I never delivered.
‘What I need for this relationship to work.
For you to take responsibility for your actions. Go to counselling and get help on your own. Face up to the fact that you have treated us very badly.
I need to feel safe in your company, not bullied, intimidated or threatened, and free to say what I feel without fear of repercussions. No more toddler tantrums when you don’t get your own way. Don’t use the children as a bargaining tool.
I know how you feel, you tell me all the time, do you have any idea how I feel?
I want to work more, contribute financially, with you supporting me in that at home and with the children. I want to be able to go out without being made to feel guilty.
I want to go out with you, get a babysitter and spend some time as a couple at least once a month.
I want you to stop being ‘busy’ and spend time with us.
I want to not be made to feel inadequate if the house/garden/car are not immaculate.
I don’t want to be compared to the dedication of athletes, the eagerness & performance of porn stars, the obedience of the dog.
I want you to limit your porn use and make an effort to hide it around the children.
I want you to become financially aware and responsible.
I want to have the right to not know what I want, and to have the time to think things through.
I would like to sell up, get a smaller house and clear the debts, and then we would be financially free to have a holiday?
I would like to wear perfume, jewellery, nice clothes.
I would like to hear the words ‘I love you’ and know that you mean them.’
I got to live, and because people like Reeva have lost that opportunity I feel I have to speak up. The death rate of lives lost to domestic abuse is huge, epidemic, and yet no-one see’s it, but every case people are saying, wow, I didn’t see that coming. It’s time we woke up and realised characters like Oscar, my husband & ‘Christian Grey’ types are capable of killing the people they are supposed to have loved.