Thursday, February 14, 2013

Non-Running Commentary: Never Forget the Victim

The New York Times published a short analysis of the life of Oscar Pistorius, the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympics -- who now stands accused of murdering Reeva Steenkamp.

This is tragic, and it's much too early to speculate what might have happened.  But, as the news broke, I couldn't help but see similarities between this event and the death of Kasandra Perkins, another woman who was killed at the hands of a high-profile figure.  As with coverage of Perkins' death, the tweets and headlines simply refer Steenkamp as Pistorius's "girlfriend."  The articles focus on how much Pistorius captivated audiences throughout his running career, his gold medals, his status as South African icon.  He gets an identity. But, what about Reeva Steenkamp?

We know that she was a model and a law student, but where are the articles about her life?
What about Kasandra Perkins?
What about the countless other women who've died at the hands of their partners?

These women have identities separate from their killers.  They had hopes, dreams, and fears.  They cared for the people in their lives, and had others care for them. 

Their lives were stolen from them. The least we can do is not forget who they are.

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