Reeva Steenkamp: just a chapter in a scary story? No!

Editor’s note: The world has been watching the sensational trial of Oscar Pistorius, a leading South African runner who won attention as an athlete with a disability competing at a high level, including at multiple Paralympic Games and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Reeva Steenkamp, a model, was his girlfriend. In the early morning of Thursday, 14 February 2013, Steenkamp was shot and killed by Pistorius at his Pretoria home. Pistorius acknowledged that he shot Steenkamp, but said that he mistook her for an intruder. He was taken into police custody and was formally charged with murder on 15 February 2013. The incident has created a media feeding frenzy around the world, including the inevitable spin by feminists. -PW

On the 14th September 2014, Joan Smith published this article in The Independent newspaper, which she opened by saying:

‘[Oscar] Pistorius is already on his way to rehabilitation in a country where three women a day are killed by a husband or boyfriend.’

Claiming (falsely, as anyone who has followed the case knows) that the world’s media reported the case uncritically because Pistorius is a personality (for which read ‘man’ personality) she purports to place the case in the context of domestic violence, posing the rhetorical question, ‘…why did no fewer than 1,024 South African men kill their current or former partners in 2009? This is not a country, in other words, where such events are rare. A woman is killed by a husband or boyfriend every eight hours.’

Reeva Steenkamp was not the victim of domestic violence. She was a tragic victim – period. Her mother and father have shown enormous dignity throughout. Their loss must be incomprehensible to them. Yet they show no malice toward Pistorius.

Smith’s article, reeking as it does with shameless feminist bigotry in this most tragic of human experiences, is reprehensible. Any reading of it reveals her agenda, which is standard feminist-speak, straight out of the manual as written by the likes of Women’s Aid, Refuge, and a host of others in the domestic violence industry – both here in Britain and in North America. God help us all if women, or men with her ideology colonise the ranks or our judiciary.

Joan Smith is, like all women of her type, a radical feminist with an axe to grind about domestic violence. She is engaged in trying to paint men as violent, wife-beating, murdering, short-fused creatures who -by clear association with Africa- are little better than savages in need of draconian treatment under the law in order to civilise them.

She is irresponsibly promulgating the standard feminist lie that seeks to pathologise maleness, thus underlining the argument-by-assertion that intimate partner violence is all one way – men to women. The truth, of course, is that women are as physically aggressive towards intimate partners as men, or more aggressive: there is a now wealth of unimpeachable research worldwide that proves this.1

There is a sweet irony as far as Ms. Smith and her feminist fellow travellers are concerned, however, which is that the judge in the Oscar Pistorius case is a woman. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of imagination to conjure up the shriek of self-righteous sophistry that would have flowed from Smith’s scribblings had it been a man making the same decisions.

I am sure this woman will hand down an appropriate, measured, just sentence to Oscar Pistorius: one that properly fits the crime of which he was fairly judged to be guilty after the fullest exploration of the evidence (at the hands of two eminent lawyers – men – neither of whom pulled any punches when trying the evidence, despite the fact that the defendant was a man).

What is more, Thokozile Masipa, the judge in question, is a woman from Soweto: that black African township whose name resonates everywhere in the world as a the scene of one of the worst excesses of apartheid (amongst many). For this woman to have been appointed judge in this case was a brave and wise judicial decision, and it was almost certainly made by a man, and probably a white man. I am sure Nelson Mandela would have entirely approved. In a country like South Africa this was a masterstroke of deep wisdom, worthy of everything he as a man stood for.

The appointment of Thokozile Masipa was an act of supreme judgement in itself, worth of anything Nelson Mandela would have done.

Under his deeply human, male leadership, and that of three other men, FW deKlerk, Desmond Tutu and before them Albert Lutuli – all Nobel Peace Prize winners – the men and women of South Africa were able to transition from totalitarian fascism to democracy peacefully with themselves, their homes, their jobs, their children, their lives, and their nation, intact.

Those men not only preached peace, but practised it too. Those men, using their male authority based on charisma not power, steered that nation through to peaceful democracy, in the most astonishing transition of political power every seen in history. Those men’s actions stood in start contrast to, for example, Winnie Mandela, who was well up for a bloodbath.

Without Mandela as national patriarch, deKlerk as a political patriarch, Tutu as church patriarch, and Lutuli, a tribal chieftain and quintessential patriarch, South Africa would have been destroyed in a sea of blood. Those men’s leadership was crucial.

They, and many other men in that predominantly male-run society at the time, took a nation from the brink of the abyss to where it is now: from fascism to democracy under the rule of just law. And they created a social climate that made possible the trial of a young white man, a national hero, severely disabled, who had triumphed over his infirmity to become an Olympic champion, even competing on level terms with able-bodied athletes, and had made his nation proud – by a black woman.

What unfolded in that courtroom in Johannesburg showed the entire world just how far South Africa has come since the fall of apartheid. I believe it will be seen as a pivotal moment in that nation’s long walk to freedom. It was South Africa finally coming of age. And yet, it is a nation that still maintains that women are as important to its future, as they were, along with their men, to its past.

Thokozile Masipa is an able and eminent lawyer, the child of a township, a woman, yet she was able to achieve her fullest potential as a woman in an allegedly male-dominated society, and she was appropriately appointed to judge perhaps the most high profile case, and potentially the most socially contentious one, since her new nation was formed.

Then she, in her turn, displaying the most magnificent calm integrity, balance, intelligence and dedication to her task dispensed her proud nation’s justice in a way that perhaps only a woman could. In a deeply complex trial of a white man accused of killing a white woman, charged with enormous potential for racial and social tension, and under the forensic attention of the world’s press, this black woman showed not the slightest racial or personal prejudice, no emotional angst, no impatience – no feminism – just diligent, honourable authority, and total dedication to duty. Now, that is what I call a real woman.

The entire exercise was nothing short of a triumph for civilised people, which showed up the women of South Africa in their true light, and which showed up the women such as Smith for what they are: snide, narrow, prejudiced child-women, with no vision, no generosity of spirit, no balance, no dignity, and full of raging bigotry against men. Feminists talk about the need for role models for girls in Britain today. They should look south, to real women, South African women, not to their own cardboard cut-out feminist caricatures.

Joan Smith can snipe at South Africa all she likes. She can disagree with judge Masipa’s verdict all she likes, that is her right – as is her right to free speech, but she needs to check her prejudices. Her article is a work of malicious feminist bitchiness. Nobody who watched the unfolding of justice under that woman judge last week could be in any doubt that justice was not only done but seen to be done in the Pistorius case. Smith not only demeans herself and her newspaper, she presumptuously demeans a proud nation that is rightly proud, because it has achieved so much, even if it is a so-called ‘man’s world’.

I know South Africa, I have been there. South African men and women still know who they are, and both sexes carry themselves with the dignity of their gender. It is a normal world – a balanced world, at least as far as gender is concerned – still relatively untouched by the pernicious poison of feminism, and it is a world of equality of opportunity. Men there actually do respect women, and women respect men. It is all a far cry from Britain in the 21st century where respect for men is virtually non-existent.

When you compare South Africa with 21st century Britain, you see the contrast. You see the inestimable damage feminism has done to us. You see men and boys, who are being vilified, their maleness pathologised in our schools and mocked in our media. You see narrow, vindictive, bigoted women, like Joan Smith, who write with signal lack of generosity of spirit, let alone journalistic integrity or intellectual judgement, sitting in judgement on men, even men in other nations: measuring them through their own narrow social and ideological constructs, as though those constructs are superior when, in fact they are not.

Frankly, I think South Africa shows Britain up. Certainly Thokozile Masiba shows up the likes of Smith who so nakedly promulgates her own form of apartheid: that of women over men – one group seeking privilege over another without respect or regard for their basic humanity. Britain has a lot further to go in sorting out its own brand of cultural apartheid – feminism – than South Africa does.


[1] Fiebert M S (2013) References Examining Assaults by Women on Their Spouses or Male Partners: An Updated Annotated Bibliography. Published online: 19 June 2013. Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

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