Before Killing, Pistorius Resembled Abuser
South Africa’s Olympian sprinter, Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. She had locked herself in the bathroom of their apartment when he shot her. He claims he’d mistaken her for an intruder. A verdict is due next week.
I can’t say for sure that he’s a murderer, but abusive men are more likely than others to kill their mates. And he definitely sounds like an abuser, as suggested by text messages sent in the weeks before the killing.
The warning signs could caution others in similar circumstances.
Abusive men often accuse their partners of sexual indiscretions. It’s a convenient excuse to punish the women — and in a way that is meant to communicate, “I love you so much that I am THIS jealous.” If he seems to love her THAT much, she’s more likely to stay with him.
In the weeks before the killing, arguments and jealous outbursts erupted in front of others. And jealousy and punishment run through Reeva’s words as she texted:
I’m sorry if you truly felt I was hitting on my friend’s husband… I was not flirting with anyone today…
… your impression of something innocent blown out of proportion and f****d up a special day to me… I’m terribly disappointed in how the day ended and u left me… I have been upset by you 2 days now. I’m so upset I left Darren’s party early. SO upset. I can’t get that day back.
Every 5 seconds I hear how you dated another chick, you really have dated a lot of people, yet you get upset if I mention ONE funny story with a long term boyfriend.
Abusive men often put on a charm offensive that makes their partners fall deeply in love, and makes it harder to leave. Charm also bolsters the storyline that insane jealousy comes from that place of intense love. That may be the case here, after all Reeva says,
You make me happy 90% of the time and i think we are amazing together but…
Controlling + Emotionally Abusive
Abusers tend to be control freaks. And the control can even work to lower a partner’s self-esteem and make her feel like she “deserves it.” And maybe make her feel like she can’t get anyone better. So abusers routinely find ways to put down their partners, call them names and blame them. In Reeva’s words:
We are living in a double standard relationship where u can be mad about how I deal with stuff when u are very quick to act cold and offish when you’re unhappy.
You have picked on me incessantly since you got back from CT (Cape Town)…
I get snapped at and told my accents and voices are annoying…
I touch your neck to show you I care, you tell me to stop. Stop chewing gum. Do this, don’t do that.
Victim Walks on Egg Shells
Reeva’s careful in each step she makes to avoid getting Oscar upset, because she fears him. Her words:
I do everything to make u happy and to not say anything to rock the boat with u. You do everything to throw tantrums in front of people.
I’m scared of you sometimes and how u snap at me and how u will react to me.
I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating u AND be attacked by you, the one person I deserve protection from.
It all leads to plenty of unhappiness:
I just want to love and be loved. Be happy and make someone SO happy. Maybe we can’t do that for each other. Cos right now I know u aren’t happy and I am certainly very unhappy and sad.
On Valentine’s Day last year Oscar shot Reeva, who was (hiding?) in a locked bathroom in their apartment. Witnesses said they’d heard gunshots and screams from both a man and a woman.
It’s not unusual for abuse crimes to be committed on holidays. In may be Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day or a birthday. It’s supposed to be the best day and you make it the worst.
Batterers don’t all exhibit the exact same symptoms, but possible warning signs are listed below. I’d be concerned if someone you were dating expressed some of these traits.
1. Jealousy of your time with co-workers, friends and family.
2. Controlling behavior. (Controls your comings and goings and your money.)
3. Isolation. (Cuts you off from all supportive resources such as telephone pals, colleagues at work and close family members.)
4. Blames others for his problems. (Unemployment, quarrels – everything is “your fault.”)
5. Hypersensitivity. (Easily upset by annoyances that are a part of daily life.)
6. Cruelty to animals or children.
7. “Playful” use of force in sex. (May start having sex with you when you are sleeping or demand sex when you are ill or tired.)
8. Verbal abuse.
9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. (Sudden mood swings and unpredictable behavior – one minute loving, the next minute angry and punitive.)
10. Past history of battering. (Has hit others but has a list of excuses for having been “pushed over the edge.”)
11. Threats of violence.
12. Breaking or striking objects.
13. Uses force during an argument.
Don’t warn abusers that you are leaving. That is the most dangerous time — the time he is most likely to kill.
Secretly make a plan. For support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (TDD: 800-787-3224).
Posted on September 5, 2014, in feminism, psychology, sexism, violence against women and tagged abusive men, battering, feminism, Oscar Pistorius, psychology, Reeva Steenkamp, sexism, violence against women. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.