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Reflections on violence against women around the world

South African Paralympic champion and double amputee Oscar Pistorius has been accused of shooting and killing his supermodel girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. This murder comes right after 17-year-old South African Anene Booysan died after being gang raped and mutilated.

71% of South African women claim that they have been sexually assaulted. According to CNN, officials claim that Steenkamp’s murder “is more important” because of her high profile. This led us at The Campanil to wonder if comments like these harm women, who are struggling against violent abuse.

We are not sure if comments like these harm women in their fight against violence, but it certainly does not help. Certain acts of violence should not be held in different regards because of someone’s social status or high profile. We do not believe that this is a correct statement to make and we don’t think that someone’s life — or the fact it has been taken away — should be given different kinds of consideration. If people continued to think this way, our perspectives would become diluted with superficial ideals concerning how to prioritize these instances. If we considered marking different murders as “more important” through how gruesome or extreme the murder was, we’d all be in deep trouble. And this case of Steenkamp’s murder wouldn’t be considered as “more important” because in comparison, the gang rape, mutilation, and murder of Anene Booysan could be seen as a million
times worse.

Women are more likely to be gang raped, murdered, trafficked, and experience dating abuse. Why should one woman’s pain eclipse that of another’s? We think tougher questions should be asked. Why do their male counterparts sexually victimize so many women in South Africa? Why aren’t police officials doing anything to stop it? At The Campanil we believe that it is important to stop the war on women. But, we have to figure out how. Violence against women is a complex problem. All women deserve basic human rights. We must speak out against violence against all women, not just a special few.