One Billion Rising while another one falls: Media treatment of Reeva Steenkamp

Thursday 14th February marked V-Day (or ‘One Billion Rising’), the celebration of a global movement designed to challenge the fact that 1 in 3 women will in their lifetimes be the victims of violence, many in their own homes or at the hands of someone close to them. It also marked a day, sadly like any other, when many women lost their lives as a result of such violence – one every 6 hours in South Africa alone, including Reeva Steenkamp, shot to death in her partner’s home.

Given that to cover every instance of violence against women in the world news would eclipse the coverage of anything else, it’s only natural that this particular case has been given prominence, owing to the alleged male perpetrator’s status as a famous Paralympian and Olympian. But my defence of the media’s coverage of this story ends here I’m afraid, because I certainly can’t get on board with what seems to be at best domestic violence apologism, and at worst victim porn. … Read More