New foundation will assist victims of domestic violence
DURING an emotional week for Reeva Steenkamp’s family, as they marked her 32nd birthday and heard the man who killed her would not be released from jail, her mother June said she wanted people to remember that Reeva was a real person, brilliant and good.
It is through the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation that June intends to highlight her daughter’s best attributes – warmth, love and compassion.
“I believe this is what I have to do. I have to make sure that something good comes from a horrible ordeal.”
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, found guilty of culpable homicide after he shot Reeva through a closed toilet door in his Pretoria home early on Valentine’s Day in 2013, had been expected to be released from prison yesterday, after spending just 10 months of his five-year sentence.
On Wednesday, however, Justice Minister Michael Masutha decided to suspend his release on parole, saying the decision by the parole board to free the athlete after serving 10 months of his five-year sentence was premature.
June said the Port Elizabeth-based foundation would assist women and children who were victims of domestic abuse and violence.
She said steps had already been taken to register the foundation, but ensuring that all the necessary requirements were done properly could be a lengthy process.
“We want to build shelters for victims of domestic violence. “It will be for children as well because often the women who are abused are mothers.”
She said the Kabega Park police station had also asked for her assistance in boosting its domestic violence facilities.
June said her goal was to start the shelters in Port Elizabeth as this was where she lived with her husband, Barry.
“If I can save someone, anyone, from what happened to Reeva it will be worth it.
“Reeva was such an amazing person and I think if she was still alive today she would have accomplished something and helped others.”
June said that on the day Reeva was tragically killed she had been due to speak to pupils at a school.
“I think that was how she was planning to start. I really believe that I need to carry on and that this is something she would have wanted me to do. It was just horrible the way she died and with all that is going on this week I think it is important that people remember she was a real person and she lost her life.
“People forget that she was brilliant and good and all that was taken away from her and she will never have a family of her own. I want to save others from that same fate.”
June said they had taken their first step by assisting Freddie Sithole, a Pretoria father whose daughter had been murdered by her former school teacher and lover.
“We supported Freddie and he stayed with us while he was attending the trial in Port Elizabeth.”
June said while in Johannesburg she had also met the family of Zanele Khumalo, 18, who was murdered by her former boyfriend, Thato Kutumela.
“That was also a horrible one because she was five months’ pregnant. It was disgusting what happened to her.
“When Anene Booysen was raped and killed, Reeva was horrified and even tweeted about it.
“Here this young girl was assaulted, raped and disembowelled. The complete disregard for life is shocking and there are so many women who are going through the same thing.”
She said she and Barry were still battling to come to terms with Reeva’s death.
“I do not think it is something we will ever be over. It is just something we will have to learn to live with and somehow we will have to go on.
“But the support has been amazing. Whenever I go shopping anywhere it takes more than an hour because everyone comes up to me and wants to give me a hug.”