This week I’ve been reminded of a girl I once knew who was killed by her boyfriend, a girl who like Reeva Steenkamp was scared but believed she was safe?
Back in early 1980s I attended a night class in English literature, there I met a young woman called Jill who had recently joined the local police force. It was always fascinating to hear Jill talk about her police work especially the danger she encountered as a woman on a daily basis. I remember long discussions about how unsafe it was for police women to walk the beat alone at night and what an underbelly of hate crime against women there was even in the sleepiest of towns. Jill, I discovered was best friends with a girl I had known at secondary school called Joanne, I remembered Joanne as a lovely vibrant girl always funny, happy and full of life’s potential.
It was some way into our English course when Jill, who had been off ill for sometime returned to class with a tale which I’ve never been able to forget, a tale of violence, waste and sadness.
Jill had decided to take Joanne out to a pub, I think to celebrate her birthday, Joannes boyfriend who was known to be very possessive and jealous turned up at the pub and created a scene. Jill had taken a very shaken and upset Joanne back home to her flat and then had gone straight onto her police night shift. Within the hour Jill received a call back to Joannes flat regarding a disturbance. When she arrived there she found Joannes body stabbed to death, stuffed carelessly under the bed. Her boyfriend was found and reprimanded and sentenced for the crime, I not sure if he’s still in prison ,I can only hope so.
The shock and viciousness of the crime made local news at the time but has since been forgotten just another dead woman who died at the hands of a violent man.
With the world watching the very public case of Pistorius’s violence against Reeva and how the media is all about him, his feelings, his appearance, his future and not about the victim, the message is clear, women still don’t matter. This may be 2014, the age of perceived equality, but a women’s life can be extinguished with the smallest of ripples, leaving the perpetrators safe in the knowledge that the system will always look to support them, not us.
Today I,m thinking of all the Gone Girls.
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