Steenkamp, a model, was found shot several times through the locked bathroom door in Pistorius’ home; he claimed that he accidentally shot her, thinking she was a burglar. Police had previously responded to “allegations of a domestic nature” at Pistorius’ home and on the night of her death, neighbors said they had heard gunshots and screams from both a man and a woman prior to the shooting. Pistorius, who is 27, has entered a plea of not guilty.
Text messages from WhatsApp between the couple were submitted as evidence and despite plenty of messages of a loving nature, they show that three weeks before her murder she was telling him “I’m scared of you sometimes” while detailing controlling and mean behavior.
In other text messages posted on CNN, from February 8th, their argument continues. Here is Steenkamp writing to Pistorius:
I didn’t think you would criticize me for doing that especially not so loudly that others could hear. I might joke around and be all Tom boyish at times but I regards myself as a lady and I didn’t feel like one tonight after the way you treated me when we left. I’m a person too … I am trying my best to make you happy and I feel as thought you sometimes never are, no matter the effort I put in. I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you — the one person I deserve protection from.
Jesus. Of course text messages are not enough to convict someone, but what she’s writing here sets off all of my Abusive Relationship Alarm Bells. Let’s recap:
- Oscar Pistorius belittles Reeva Steenkamp and controls how she speaks and even chews gum: She tells him you have “picked on me incessantly,” calling his behavior “nasty,” writes that “I get snapped at and told my accents and voices are annoying … Stop chewing gum. Do this don’t do that,” and refers to being “attacked” by Pistorius.
- Pistorius is controlling and extremely possessive: he apparently made them leave early from an event because he accused Steenkamp of flirting: “I was not flirting with anyone today. … I feel sick that u suggested that and that u made a scene at the table and how you left me”
- Pistorius is not only extremely possessive, but also hypocritical about how his expectations of her behavior differ from his : “Every 5 seconds I hear how u 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”
- Steenkamp goes out of her way to appease him: “I do everything to make u happy and to not say anything to rock the boat with you”
- Pistorius humiliates her/him in front of others: “You do everything to throw tantrums in front of people”
- And most condemning, SHE IS AFRAID OF HIM: “I’m scared of u sometimes and how u snap at me and of how u will react to me”
Do you feel uncomfortable after reading this, knowing what happened to her weeks later? I do. According to Africa’s Mail & Guardian, Pistorius reportedly cried while the messages were read in court.
And how sad it is: Reeva Steenkamp seemed to have been telling her boyfriend not to make his controlling behavior so public because it embarrassed her in front of their friends. This is classic behavior for someone being manipulated and abused in a relationship; they try to keep the abuse “private” so they can preserve the image other people have of them being a happy couple. The irony is that he is now on trial for her murder and everyone can read her text messages and know they were anything but.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.
[Image via Getty]