In South Africa violence is present and disregarded across the country. The victims of this violence are black, coloured, Indian, and white, women and men, rich and poor, famous and unknown. While the stories of Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp deserve attention, there are other poignant personal histories across this spectrum of experience that are ignored, and have been ignored for decades. Surely such stories deserve real attention as well. Not a matter-of-fact reporting of time, place, and cause of death, but real attention; in narratives as penetrating and rich as is necessitated by the lives they represent.
This week saw an odd juxtaposition: The too-cute images of idealized love and prezzies for your sweet (brought to you care of Valentine's Day) sat side by side with grim speculation about violence visited upon one intimate by another in the Patrick Brazeau and Oscar Pistorius cases. With any allegation of a despicable act, public reproach follows -- but the judgment seems particularly swift when the incident involves suspected domestic abuse. Let's hope our well-founded indignation at violence against women doesn't supersede our equally laudable tradition of considering an individual innocent until proven guilty.