“These violent delights have violent ends, And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which as they kiss consume…”(Shakespeare’s Friar Lawrence unsuccessfully advises Romeo to take it slow).
This series is an attempt to explore the story of Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp from the perspective of intimate-partner violence, reflected in the published words of witnesses to their relationship. Although we don’t know how it ended between them emotionally – a matter currently disputed in Oscar’s criminal trial – the history of relationships that violate women (and sometimes men) has been told here in South Africa and around the world, allowing some generalisations to be made about those relationships. Ideas about gender and male privilege play an important role in creating a context for violence between intimate partners.
Here once again are some of the key Rules and Beliefs that play a part in gender violence:
ONE: Real Men should stay in control, and not show pain or fear
TWO: Real Men do not experience emotional vulnerability or discomfort
THREE: Real Men take charge unless there’s a clear line of male authority already
FOUR: Real Men exercise authority in disconnected, non-relational ways
FIVE: Women (or gender-disobedient males) are forbidden to provoke, discomfit or diminish a Real Man. Men lower in the male hierarchy are also forbidden
Stories recover hidden meanings. In a story with a familiar plot, we can see how ‘the rules’ operate, and recognise what they’re capable of doing to us. We can also see, sometimes with painful clarity, the beliefs we take for granted about the world.
...........Next: South Africa First – SAF