So Oscar Pistorius gets just six years in prison and Reeva Steenkamp has become a footnote in her own murder.    If you have not listened to Real Crime Profile Episode 21 I would urge you to do so.

Laura Richards & Jim Clemente (a former FBI Criminal Behaviour analyst and Criminal Profiler, respectively) brilliantly analyse the text exchanges between Oscar and Reeva in the lead up to the crime and show why this was a predictable murder.    This was clearly a Domestic Violence killing and the texts a clear example of Coercive Control:

In a nutshell:

  • The relationship was very intense and volatile from the start.
  • Pistorius questioned her behaviour and her past (implying she might not be the ‘Madonna’ he expected her to be, but ‘just like the other girls’ he’d dated before) and she then tried to modify her behaviour to appease him. His double standards were also clear.
  • He tried to micro-manage her behaviour; he used his moods to control her. She tried to second-guess him and attempted to manage his behaviour, so as not to inflame his anger.
  • He expected her to live up to his rules, but as she tried to understand them, he moved the goalposts to keep her on the back foot.
  • He justified his bad behaviour – ‘I was tired’; ‘I was upset’ – but never took responsibility for it. It was all about ‘Me, me, me’ – everything revolved around his needs, his wants, not hers.
  • Her sense of self will started to erode, her confidence to whittle away. But she still had hope. And he gave her enough glimpses of the charismatic man she first met, to make her convince herself this darker side of him she was seeing, was not what he was really like.

Within a week or so Reeva was dead. She had said ‘all she wanted was for him to protect her’, not be nasty to her. His defence was that he was trying to ‘protect her’, when he murdered her.   If only she’d heeded the warning signs.

Does this behaviour sound familiar to you?  What do you think of the Podcast? Let me know in the Comments below.

If you need further help or counselling, please refer to the following (or the equivalent in your country):

1800Respect: 0800 737 732
Lifeline: 13 11 14

National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service 020 3866 4107

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233


Are your relationships – past or present – good enough for you?  Do you deserve better?  Try my FREE QUIZ to find out!

Written by Vivian McGrath

Vivian McGrath is a TV Executive Producer who makes documentaries for major US, UK and Australian broadcasters.  She is also a survivor of domestic violence.  Her book ‘Unbeatable (How I Left a Violent Man)’ – her story of surviving abuse to finding success in love and life – will be published soon.  She hopes this blog will help others to become strong, fearless and successful too.  Find out more about Vivian Here.

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