Pistorius arrested in death of girlfriend

Feb 14, 2013 | News

By: Sara Yonis
The white ribbon symbolizes violence against women.  COURTESY Flickr

The white ribbon symbolizes violence against women.

Paralympic gold medal winner Oscar Pistorius was arrested Thursday, after being accused of killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in Pretoria, South Africa.

In the 2012 summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to ever compete in the Olympics.

Pretoria police spokesperson Denise Beukes said there had been a recent history of problems involving Pistorius. Beukes said the incidents included “allegations of a domestic nature,” CBC News reported.

Steenkamp’s publicist, Sarit Tomlindon, gave a heartfelt statement in a report to the BBC about the 29-year-old model.

“Everyone who knew her is in tears. She was an absolute angel, the sweetest, sweetest human being, a kind human being,” Sarit Tomlinson said.

Steenkamp, who has spoken out against rape and abuse of women on Twitter, now is another possible victim of domestic abuse in the athletic world.

A growing number of women have been subject to domestic abuse from partners who are sports megastars.

CBC News reports some of the most high profile domestic violence cases involving famous athletes include:

Prior to the Pistorius case, the most recent one was Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher who murdered his girlfriend before taking his own life back in December.

Venezuelan boxer, Edwin Valero, was sent to prison over the murder of the mother of his two kids back in 2010.  Drugs found in Valero’s body were one of the reasons given to authorities.

Bruno Fernandes de Souza, a Brazilian soccer player, has been linked to several domestic violence incidents. The goalkeeper is on trial for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, and in the past, Souza was found guilty of the assault and the abduction of a 25-year-old girl who remains are still not found.

Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer, the executive director of Women Against Violence Against Women, said domestic violence stems from an abuse of power.

Men, she said, “can exercise power” over women.

Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer said domestic violence is a lot more common in women’s life than most would expect.

“One out of three women in the world will experience violence at some point in our lifetime. So that’s one billion people.”

Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer said domestic violence has nothing to with whether you’re famous or not.

“It happens every single day everywhere, it crosses all socio economics.”

But the domestic violence attacks don’t only happen to partners of male athletes.

In 2009, NFL player Steve McNair was shot to death while he slept by his 20-year-old mistress, and in 2000, NFL player Fred Lane was shot to death by his wife in his North Carolina home.

The news of Pistorius’s arrest comes on the same day of the global One Billion Rising movement, which aims to raise awareness about global abuse of women.

The movement will include gatherings throughout the world.

“Around the world all of us have been called to go outside to dance, rise up and revolt against violence against women,” said Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer.