- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Oscar Pistorius arrest underscores scope of relationship abuse: Experts
Domestic-violence opponents say the apparent murder of a South African model by her world-famous athlete boyfriend shows that dating violence can happen to anyone, anywhere.
People may think that violence and batterings only happen at the hands of thugs, “but the truth is, these unhealthy relationships are happening all around us,” said Cristina Escobar, director of Love Is Respect, a program with Break the Cycle, a national nonprofit aimed at ending domestic and dating violence.
“It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, or where you are located,” said Ms. Escobar. “Anyone can be a victim and anyone can be an abuser.”
South Africans were reeling Thursday from the news that paralympic runner and national sporting hero Oscar Pistorius, 26, was charged with murder of fashion model Reeva Steenkamp, 29, inside his gated home in Pretoria, South Africa.
Mr. Pistorius gained world acclaim as “the Blade Runner” due to the high-tech artificial blades he has used since childhood, when he lost his legs to amputation due to a congenital condition. After a lengthy legal battle, Mr. Pistorius won permission to compete in the Olympic Games and represented South Africa in London in July.
On Thursday, police arrested him for shooting Ms. Steenkamp, a model who had been dating him for several months. Although she had recently begun speaking against rape and abuse of women on Twitter, Ms. Steekamp’s comments about Mr. Pistorius indicated their romance was going very well and she was looking forward to seeing him on Valentine's Day.
The National Prosecuting Authority said Mr. Pistorius, who was escorted from his house by authorities with his face blocked by a hoodie, would remain in custody until his hearing Friday, when police intend to oppose bail.
The Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld suggested that the athlete mistook his girlfriend for a burglar and killed her accidentally.
However, a police spokeswoman, Brig. Denise Beukes, said police were “surprised” at reports the killing was accidental, adding that that version hadn’t come from police, according to the South African Press Assn.
Although South Africans were shocked at the killing, police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said there had been “allegations of a domestic nature” previously involving the track star.
Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court, but Ms. Beukes said that Mr. Pistorius was at his home at the time of the death of Ms. Steenkamp, and “there is no other suspect involved.”
Ms. Escobar, the abuse expert, said it’s not always easy to spot danger in a romantic partner.
The dynamics of domestic violence and dating abuse mean a person will use aggression and violence to control the partner, even though they are “often quite charming and lovely” with others, she said.
Warning signs of unhealthy relationships are controlling behaviors, such as constant texts asking where someone is and who they’re with, demands to see personal information, isolating someone from their friends, and “telling you who you can and can’t be friends with on Facebook.”
“The person who acts violently makes that choice, and they are responsible for their actions,” said Ms. Escobar, whose group offers aid and counseling to victims at loveisrespect.org.
“The person who is the victim of abuse is not responsible,” she said. “Just because you love someone, or care for someone who is abusive, does not make you stupid or wrong. It means you are in a difficult situation, and you deserve our support and sympathy.”
This article is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Mich. law makes women buy own insurance for abortions
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Panel seeks 'surveillance' system for gay blood donors
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Embryonic stem cell research falls out of favor as scientists go ethical
Latest Blog Entries
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
- House votes to reject Obama welfare shift
- Report: Two out of three Democrats support gay marriage
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- North Korean dictator stuns world with uncle's execution
- CHELLANEY: China's game of chicken
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Inside the Ring: China targets Global Hawk drone
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow