Friday, 15 February 2013


When I wake, one of the first things I do is browse Twitter. So it was, yesterday, that I discovered the awful news about Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp. Whatever the explanation - and Twitter was abuzz with speculation about him mistaking her for a burgler, with the odd dark hints about temper problems - the story was tragic.

With Pistorius' status as an international sportsman, an ambassador for Paralympians and as a role model for millions, he was, inevitably, going to be the focus. Ultimately, though, a young woman is dead and she should not be forgotten beneath our own grief at an idol brought low.

As the day went on focus seemed to switch from the suggestion of some sort of mistaken identity to official police reports of previous incidents at his home. People delved into his Twitter history to find reports of his prowess with guns and hints of temper problems. And Reeva Steenkamp became almost footnote - Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend, 29 (or 30, depending on what report you read).

A lot of what I've outlined so far is entirely to be expected: Pistorius was the one in the public eye and his arrest for murder is therefore a significant news story in it's own right. Indeed, sad to say, but it's the only reason that the tragic killing of Reeva Steenkamp is news at all in this country. But in the reporting of the story some of the press has lost sight of the fact that she was a person in her own right, with an identity that went beyond being Pistorius' girlfriend.

And now The Sun and The Star have published their front pages online... and, well, I'll let this brief Storify take up the story from here; it's a snapshot selection of some tweets which have used the hashtag #HerNameWasReevaSteenkamp:

Needless to say, both The Sun and The Star front pages have appalled me - I cannot for the life of me see how the objectification of a woman whose life has been so tragically ended can be justified. It's crass, it's insensitive, it's inhumane and it's beyond the pale. It's as if Leveson never happened. Andrew


Stephen said...

The Sun don't give a **** about people's feelings, despite Leveson.

SMS said...

insecurity, helplessnes and pride projecting as anger! we have killed many even with words. God help us! Praying for all families on earth for a humble spirit.