Content note: this post discusses violence against women and murder.
Oscar Pistorius has been found not guilty of the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. Apparently, he could not reasonably expect that shooting several times through a door might kill someone.
Let’s pretend for a minute that Pistorius’s line–that he’d thought there was a black man in his house so he blindly shot through a door to protect himself and Reeva–was true. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe it was.
And that in itself is perhaps more chilling than the idea of a murder driven by hate, and anger and abuse. That suggests that Reeva died due to carelessness, indifference. That suggests that Reeva Steenkamp was collateral damage in a racist system.
It suggests that the lives of women are not valued at all, that nobody cares if we live or die, and it’s as easy to kill us by mistake as it is to accidentally tread on a snail on a rainy day. Nobody cares enough to keep us alive.
Hatred of women, I can understand and deal with. But where can one even begin when it comes to just carelessness?
The fact that this is an accepted legal defence and formed the verdict lays bare a structure that protects white men while casually ignoring everyone else.
Reeva Steenkamp died in a world that just doesn’t care. Her name will be forgotten, just as it is for all the others. Her fate will blur into all the others, because whether this indifference is true and real, or an excuse set up to protect men who hate women, it’s there.
Her name was Reeva Steenkamp, and she should still be here with us.