Text messages introduced in the murder trial of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius suggest that Pistorius and his late girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp didn't always get along. But something about one of Steenkamp's messages struck a chord with me.
Pistorius is currently on trial for killing Steenkamp on February 14th, 2013. He claims that he shot her four times through a locked bathroom door because he thought she was an intruder (the sort of intruder who locks himself in a bathroom and also the kind of intruder who speaks and yells in the voice of Reeva Steenkamp, apparently). Evidence introduced during the trial suggests that their relationship was stormy. Here's a screenshot of one of those messages, which was tweeted by a journalist attending the trial.
From the message, we can glean that prior to its composure, Pistorius must have accused Steenkamp of flirting with the husband of one of her friends at a party. He "picked on" her, made her leave early from a social gathering because he was pouting, got childishly jealous of her mention of any previous lovers when he flaunted his own sexual history. He threw "tantrums" and would "snap at" her sometimes. She said she was scared of him.
He even did that asshole boyfriend thing where he'd passive aggressively play music directed at the object of his affection and derision in the icy car ride home. "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" is song from that fantastic Kendrick Lamar that came out a couple of years ago. [how dare he use Kendrick Lamar for evil!]
I mean, Pistorius sounds like a prick, but the line about being snappy and scary really threw me for a loop. More than one woman I'm close with has been in a relationship with a man who "scared" her. There's nothing fun about being in that sort of relationship. It feels like drowning, like a constant physical and emotional flinch. And the apologetic "I'm sorry" response always, always minimizes the events that prompted anger and fear in the first place. Of course, none of this proves that Pistorius was a murderer, but it does prove that Pistorius was scary and prone to inappropriate emotional displays in response to jealousy. Everyone knows someone who has been the object of a needlessly jealous person's suspicion, and the last possible outcome of a relationship like that a friend would want to consider is one that involves tragedy.
Less than three weeks later, Steenkamp was shot to death by Pistorius.
Image via Getty