Slain Pistorius girlfriend spoke out against gender violence
JOHANNESBURG(Reuters) – The day before her Paralympics star boyfriend Oscar Pistorius shot her dead, Reeva Steenkamp publicly proclaimed her support for a campaign against the violence that kills thousands of women in South Africa each year.
On her Twitter page on Feb 13, Steenkamp posted her support for a “Black Friday” campaign urging South Africans to wear black in honour of thousands of women raped and killed in the country, often by their partners.
The 29-year-old, who died in the early hours of Valentine’s day, wanted to use her rising profile as a model and girlfriend of one of South Africa’s most recognised sportsmen to raise awareness of the scourge, her best friend, Gina Myers, said.
“A couple of days before she passed away, she was saying how people were so ignorant of the fact that (violence on women) is going around,” Myers told Reuters on Thursday. Steenkamp lived with Myers and her family in the five months before her death.
“She was starting to do these talks to women. It was something she felt strongly about and she wanted to do something with it.”
Raised in the eastern city of Port Elizabeth, Steenkamp regarded the Myers as her “Johannesburg family” and she featured in many framed pictures scattered around the house. Her bedroom, spartan with white linen and black curtains, still bore the eerie evidence of Steenkamp’s occupancy on Thursday, with a handbag lying half opened on the bed while her cosmetics were dotted on a dresser.
Pistorius, a double amputee dubbed “Blade Runner” because of his carbon fibre racing blades, faces life in prison if convicted of the premeditated murder of Steenkamp.
He denies the charge, saying he mistook her for an intruder in his high-security suburban home.