Yesterday, in South Africa, a young woman was fatally shot. 29 year old Reeva Steenkamp had a successful career as a model, most notably with FHM magazine.
Her Twitter account speaks of someone not only enjoying life, but also aware of the problems of others. One particularly heartbreaking tweet, from Sunday, says:
I woke up in a safe, happy home this morning. Not everyone does. Speak out against the rape of individuals.
We also know from Twitter that Steenkamp planned to wear black today in support “against rape and woman abuse”. South Africa has, to put it mildly, a real problem with violence against women which has been highlighted over the past few weeks. She had previously highlighted the funeral of a 17 year old who had been gang raped and murdered with the words “RIP Princess.”
It means a great deal when a role model for women takes these issues seriously.
But we haven’t heard much about Reeva in the news. It’s all been about the man charged with her murder, Oscar Pistorius,a man deemed fit to have a firearm despite previous police involvement over domestic violence. The biggest loser, in all of this, apparently, according to a man on BBC Breakfast, is the paralympic movement. Err,no. A young woman has been murdered. It’s a bit more serious than that. The internet and the media are full of inappropriate plays on words – and the Sun has sunk to its usual depths by putting the most scantily clad photo it could find on its front page. And what’s been particularly good to see is that our own George Potter was namechecked by John Prescott for complaining to their newsdesk. It’s about time that paper found some respect and decorum.
It’s not asking too much to expect that the focus should be on the young woman who lost her life in such horrible circumstances.