Pistorius' Text Messages - All Too Familiar


As the Oscar Pistorius case continues to shock South Africa, revealing details have been displayed about the fraught relationship between the former 'Blade Runner' and his now deceased girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Domestic Abuse

Text Messages Reveal Abuse

The messages portrayed Oscar as a very jealous man who often "snapped" and "picked on" the former model and law student. They chronicle a number of encounters between the two in which she felt she was being "attacked" and was a victim of jealous criticisms. They give a revealing look into the intense, turbulent weeks running up to her unfortunate death.

The messages exchanged between Oscar and Reeva are a shocking example of how domestic abuse is not always a physical crime. Words can hurt just as much as blows, and emotional and psychological abuse can have an even longer lasting effect.

Abuse Not Always Physical

The Home Office definition of domestic abuse was amended in 2013 to accommodate for "controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour". These acts often accompany physical abuse but are just as damamging by themselves.

One text message details an outing between Pistorius and Reeva. He became jealous when he saw Reeva talking to another man. He chastised her in public, so loud that those around could hear him. At the end of the message Reeva said, "I can't be attacked by outsiders… AND be attacked by you the one person I deserve protection from."

These messages sent and received between Reeva and Oscar, go some way towards highlighting the damaging effects of a coercive and abusive relationship. Despite the change in the definition, people are still unaware that acts such as these are a form of abuse and should not be tolerated.

I Need Help, What Can I Do?

There are a number of ways the law can help you if your partner or ex-partner is acting in an abusive manner towards you. You don't have to wait to bear the physical scars as well as the mental ones.

The 2 main types of order that can help you are the:

  • Non-molestation order
  • Occupation order

If you have been threatened with violence or someone has already been violent towards you, then you should consider getting a non-molestation order. Breaking the terms of this order is a criminal offence and your abuser may face jail if they do.

An occupation order determines who lives in the family home, and can restrict access to the area surrounding it. It is not a criminal offence to break it, but the court can attach something called a 'power of arrest' to the order. This means that the police will have the power to arrest your abuser, a judge will then determine if that person should go to prison or should receive a fine.

No man or women should suffer abuse and it most certainly should not reach the extent that it did in this case. Although it is a worrying time for the people on the receiving end of the abuse, your safety should always come first.

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