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Tag Archive: narcissist

Reeva Steenkamp was murdered. Shame on the BBC for forgetting

The issue of abusive men – reprinted from the Guardian. By Sonia Sodha – 2020-11-01

Once again, a male perpetrator of violence is painted as terribly misunderstood

Reeva Steenkamp - murdered by an abusive man

Reeva Steenkamp: shot to death through a bathroom door Photograph: Gallo Images/Getty Images

Her name was Reeva Steenkamp. She was a 29-year-old model who was the face of an anti-bullying campaign and was about to return to her old school to talk to girls about gender-based violence. She was adored by her family. But on Valentine’s Day 2013 she was murdered by her violent, controlling boyfriend. He shot her four times through the locked door of a bathroom in his home, where she was cowering, petrified.

Her future was stolen by a dangerous predator with a history of controlling and abusing women; a former girlfriend has said he used to lock her in his house with no food for hours at a time, call her parents many times a day to track her movements and physically abuse and threaten her to the extent that she feared for her life.

That is the story of Steenkamp’s horrific murder by the Paralympian Oscar Pistorius. But it seems our national broadcaster disagrees. Last week, the BBC began promoting a new four-part documentary series, The Trials of Oscar Pistorius. It launched a trailer that did not mention Steenkamp’s name, but instead featured Pistorius’s “remarkable” sporting achievements, praise from Nelson Mandela and his lie that “he didn’t do it”.

Accompanying this was a sickening BBC press release that boasted of a series telling the “extraordinary story” of “an international hero who inspired millions” until “he suddenly found himself at the centre of a murder investigation”. “According to Pistorius, the event was a tragic accident, but his troubled past and questionable testimony cast doubt on his innocence,” the BBC tells us. Amid the gushing, his murder conviction is not mentioned once. You could read it and think he got off.

Although the BBC has since removed the trailer, a slightly amended version of the offending press release remains on its website. But what on earth did it think it was doing buying a series directed by a man who says “he’s still flip-flopping” on Pistorius’s innocence and who reserves more criticism for the press for daring to report his history of domestic abuse than he does for the murderer himself?

This is nothing less than the BBC allowing itself to be used as the propaganda outfit of a convicted murderer. Staff are furious; sources tell me that more than 100 journalists have complained to management about the way in which the promotional material minimises violence against women.

Abusive men - Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria

Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa in 2016. Photograph: KIM LUDBROOK / POOL/EPA

This is a dangerous mistake by the BBC that compounds the dominant narrative about men who murder their partners. So often, the stories that get told are of upstanding citizens, loving fathers and respected colleagues who, having been provoked, lose control and lash out in a moment of madness. The tragedy is theirs, not of the women they kill, who are so often cast as the spurned lover or unfaithful temptress.

The truth could not be more different. Professor Jane Monckton Smith, an expert on intimate partner homicide, reviewed 372 cases where men killed their partners. She found almost all these killings shared an eight-stage pattern that began with a pre-relationship history of stalking or abuse, which evolved into a relationship dominated by coercive control and an escalation in control tactics such as stalking or threatening suicide.

Popular culture can play an important role in helping us understand these patterns. One of the most powerful accounts of coercive control I’ve seen was the Channel 4 drama I Am Nicola, starring Vicky McClure. BBC Three recently launched a documentary aimed at young people, Is This Coercive Control? But this positive work is more than undone by broadcasters who see no issue in glamorising the murder of women if they see it as ratings-friendly.

Societal minimisation of “domestic” killings matters. First, it feeds into the justice system via the police, prosecutors, juries and judges. Take the killing of Claire Parry, 41, a highly qualified nurse who worked overtime during the pandemic, and a devoted mother to two children. In his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Jacobs said he was sure that her killer, Timothy Brehmer, 41, deliberately took Parry by the neck in a way that caused severe injuries, then, after leaving her hanging out of her car unconscious, “did nothing to try to help”, pretending he did not realise she was in distress.

Brehmer, a police officer, was described at his trial by a former intimate partner and fellow police officer as exerting “coercive and controlling behaviour over women”. Yet the jury acquitted him of murder. He was jailed for 10 years after admitting manslaughter.

This case is the latest in a long line where male killers have succeeded in having murder charges reduced to manslaughter by arguing that they did not mean to cause serious harm or that they lost control after being provoked. The irony is, of course, that for abusive men, killing their partner is the ultimate assertion of control.

Second, the BBC narrative obscures the real story of these men: the warning signals, the real danger these women were in. Not all domestic abusers will become killers, but Monckton Smith’s research shows that the vast majority of men who kill their partners are abusers.

Two women a week are killed by their partners in England and Wales. Their lives could be saved if they, their loved ones and the police were more aware that coercive control does not just constitute psychological abuse at that time, but could be a red flag for what might happen. Yet the popular narrative perpetuates the idea that these murders are surprising and unpredictable, so there is little we can do to proactively keep women safe from dangerous predators.

Shame on the BBC for glorifying a convicted murderer who shot his girlfriend to death. Shame on it for putting her mother through the torture of watching a trailer about her murder that did not even bother to name her. Say her name. Tell her story. Women’s lives depend on it.

Some links added by SD Law.

If you have been affected by coercive control

SD Law is a law firm in Cape Town of family attorneys with deep experience of helping women escape abusive men and find peace and dignity in a new life. We can serve a protection order on a controlling partner and help you initiate divorce proceedings, if appropriate. We will connect you to relevant support services and make sure you and your children are safe. At Cape Town Divorce Attorneys, we understand how deeply distressing coercive control can be, and we will handle your case with discretion, empathy and compassion. Contact Simon on 086 099 5146 or email for a confidential discussion. We can call you back on a safe number.

Further reading:

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Narcissistic abuse and how to deal with it – VIDEO

You may have heard of narcissistic abuse, but do you know how to identify it and deal with it? Hi, I’m Simon Dippenaar, and I’m a family lawyer who has dealt with this issue extensively. If you think you might be a victim of narcissistic abuse, here’s what you need to know.

Identifying narcissistic behaviour and its more extreme form, narcissistic personality disorder, can be difficult, especially because narcissists typically focus their attention on destroying your self-esteem. This often causes you to question whether your feelings and reactions are valid, and can even leave you doubting your sanity. But make no mistake, narcissistic personality disorder is real, and the repercussions of being on its receiving end can be severe.

A narcissist is often very charming and likeable at first. They know how to make you feel special. However, this initial impression often belies the fact that they are driven by self-interest, power and control. Their primary focus is themselves, and this makes itself apparent in their profound arrogance and their inability to empathise. 

Narcissists will do anything they can to avoid engaging with their own painful emotions. And this avoidance manifests in a number of different ways, including verbal abuse, manipulation and gaslighting, lying, withholding love and affection, constantly exercising control and love bombing.

Shaming, bullying, belittling, threatening and criticising those around them are regular tactics of narcissists. They tend to shift blame quickly, and are likely to make you feel embarrassed or afraid in an effort to protect themselves. Narcissists desperately crave external validation and admiration and will do whatever they can to avoid feeling bad about themselves.

They also make you doubt yourself and invalidate your experiences. This can cause you to feel disconnected from your own intuition, and bound by feelings of fear, responsibility and guilt. Narcissists are also likely to lie. These are not benign white lies. Instead, they’re serious, pathological lies that narcissists hide behind in order to maintain a firm grip over the power in their relationships.

Withholding love and affection, as well as money, sex and communication, further helps narcissists exercise control. This can make you feel neglected, which is especially problematic for children of narcissistic parents. It’s possible that neglected children will grow up to become narcissists themselves, since they’ve been taught from a young age that one’s individual needs are all that matter. Control is further exercised in the narcissist’s influence on what those around them wear and eat, who they interact with and what kind of work they do.

Of course, a relationship with a narcissist isn’t always difficult. Narcissists want people to adore them, and so there are often periods of happiness that are driven by large, over-the-top gestures called “love bombing”. This helps narcissists keep their partners coming back, but at some point the narcissist will always return to abusive behaviour.

If this sounds familiar, and you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, help is available. Psychologists are equipped to deal with the mental and emotional ramifications of this sort of abuse and can help you to disentangle yourself from your narcissistic relationship. If you decide to step away entirely, which is usually the best approach, our team of divorce and family law experts are here to lend a hand. For a confidential appointment, please call me on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 and we can help you start afresh.

Further reading:

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Alcohol not the sole cause of gender-based violence

‘The level of violence against women is beyond just alcohol consumption,’ says Les Da Chef

When lockdown began and the alcohol ban was announced, we expressed reservations. While done with the best of intentions, we were not convinced it would curb the widespread incidence of domestic violence, despite the known links between alcohol and gender-based violence. It gives us no pleasure to be proved right.

Reprinted from TimesLive, by Kyle Zeeman. 2020-06-14

Lesego "Les Da Chef" Semenya has spoken out on femicide in the country.

Lesego “Les Da Chef” Semenya has spoken out on femicide in the country.
Image: Via Lesdachef’s Instagram

Celebrity chef Lesego “Les Da Chef” Semenya has weighed in on gender-based violence in SA, claiming that SA’s issues run deeper than just alcohol consumption.

Gender-based violence and femicide have dominated headlines this week after the deaths of Tshegofatso Pule and Naledi Phangindawo reignited calls for the government to take action.

Tshegofatso was found hanging from a tree in an open veld in Roodepoort on Monday after going missing last week. She was eight months pregnant.

Naledi was attacked while attending a cultural function over the weekend in KwaNonqaba, Mossel Bay.

The murders also sparked a debate on whether alcohol was to blame for the violence.

Lesego took to Twitter to claim that “the level of violence and hatred for women is beyond just alcohol consumption”.

He said that men around the world drink, but they do not murder at the rate SA men do.

“Men all over the world drink alcohol but they don’t go out and kill women on the levels we do in SA. The issue isn’t booze, this thing in SA runs much deeper and needs serious focus and strategy,” he said.

He called for a separate investigations unit to be set up to deal with gender-based violence.

“A separate section on the same level as the Hawks, independent from cops but legally backed by laws and government, solely focused on this issue. Where women will feel safe and know they will be heard. Where whistle-blowers will be listened to. We need proper structures,” he explained.

He also shaded the ministry of women, youth and persons with disabilities, asking what power it had.

We can help

SD Law is an outspoken advocate against gender-based violence and the toxic socialisation of boys in our society. We have helped numerous women escape controlling and abusive relationships. We can help you secure a protection order or escape a narcissistic partner. If you are locked down with an abuser or suffering violence or abuse of any description, even if you’re not ready to go on record, contact us today and we will help get you to safety. As family lawyers, the interests of you and your children are our first priority.

Contact Simon on 086 099 5146 or email to discuss your case in complete confidence. If you can’t get out, or prefer not to, we now offer online consultations. We’ll call you back, to schedule a meeting at a time that suits you, on the platform of your choosing

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‘Calamitous’: domestic violence set to soar by 20% during global lockdown

Data from the UN population fund, outlining increases in abuse, FGM and child marriage, predicts a grim decade for many women

lockdown domestic violence

Domestic violence / gender-based violence / violence against women (VAW) – call it what you will. It is a global epidemic arguably worse than COVID-19, because there is no quick fix for it. Self-isolating and “social distancing” won’t cure domestic violence, and all over the world there is evidence that lockdowns are making it much, much worse. On the same day this article from the Guardian appeared in the morning, by the afternoon there was a further report from Spain of a woman killed by her partner, the 19th such case in Spain this year.

At least 15m more cases of domestic violence are predicted around the world this year as a result of pandemic restrictions, according to new data that paints a bleak picture of life for women over the next decade.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has also calculated that tens of millions of women will not be able to access modern contraceptives this year, and millions more girls will undergo female genital mutilation or be married off by 2030.

Natalia Kanem, the fund’s executive director, called the findings “totally calamitous”.

Authorities around the world have reported rising cases of abuse as a result of Covid-19 lockdowns.

The figures, published on Tuesday by the UNFPA and its partners Avenir Health, Johns Hopkins University in the US and Victoria University in Australia, assume a 20% increase in violence during an average three-month lockdown in all 193 UN member states. The figures take into account the anticipated high levels of under-reported cases.

Researchers expect 15m additional cases of domestic violence for every three months that lockdown is extended. They also estimate that the disruption to violence prevention programmes because of the pandemic and the diversion of resources elsewhere could mean a third fewer cases of violence are averted by 2030.

Researchers also project that up to 44 million women in 114 low and middle-income countries will be unable to access contraceptives if lockdown and Covid-19 related restrictions continue for three months and cause major disruption to services. This would result in an estimated 1 million unintended pregnancies.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation has reported that more than 5,000 clinics have closed in 64 countries and Marie Stopes International predicts that Covid-19 restrictions on its services could mean 3 million additional unintended pregnancies, 2.7 million unsafe abortions and 11,000 pregnancy-related deaths.

The pandemic is also expected to derail efforts to end FGM. Researchers had expected the scaling up of FGM prevention programmes over the next 10 years would mean 5.3 million fewer girls being cut. This figure is projected to be reduced by a third.

Meanwhile the disruption to programmes to prevent child marriage will result in an additional 13 million children being married over the next decade.

World leaders have pledged to eliminate violence against women and girls, FGM and child marriage, as well as ensure universal access to family planning by 2030, under the sustainable development goals.

“It’s a calamity. Totally calamitous,” said Kanem. “It is so clear that Covid-19 is compounding the no longer subterranean disparities that affect millions of women and girls.”

She said the pandemic “threatened the gains carefully eked out” over recent years. “We are very worried indeed.”

She said UNFPA teams in the Arab states and east and southern Africa had reported that “people were rushing to marry their daughters” already, while deaths in childbirth in one east African country had tripled this year.

Wendo Aszed, the founder of Dandelion Africa, which runs economic empowerment programmes in Kenya’s Rift Valley, said it had been forced to reduce its mobile family planning services by 40% because of coronavirus restrictions.

Many women in the region have up to eight children and live on about $1.50 (£1.20) a day.

“On a bad day we will have 300 people [attend mobile clinics]. Some days we get up to 700 people showing up,” said Aszed. “That has been really impacted. We cannot treat women in these places.”

She said that from mid-March to mid-April, more than 40 cases of violence have been reported to her organisation, more than the total number it dealt with last year.

“A lot more women are a lot more aware that they can report and can leave marriages,” she said. “Women are fed up and they are seeing opportunities. With Covid things could get a lot worse so they need to deal with this problem and then can deal with Covid.”

Traci Baird, president of EngenderHealth, said UNFPA had “put numbers to things that we have been discussing for weeks”.

“The magnitude of the problem is absolutely enormous and that should motivate and mobilise us to take action now and be prepared to manage and support countries, and partners and families, in catching up after.

“We know what works, we have best practices that have impact,” she added. “We have to do things better and faster and smarter. We don’t have time to do learnings and ramp up phases, or workshops and meetings. We have to get back to work.”

Reprinted from the Guardian, 2020-04-28. Written by Liz Ford.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

As family lawyers, we are very concerned about the levels of gender-based violence we are experiencing as a nation – both now during lockdown and at all times. We are also concerned that police and the authorities…including court officials…often don’t take emotional violence as seriously as physical violence, as we saw in a recent case that came before the courts in Cape Town. Emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse, and furthermore, often presages it. It must not be ignored or dismissed.

If you are worried about a friend or family member, or if you have concerns about the nature of your own relationship, this article will help you identify the signs of abuse. If you become aware of a neighbour in distress, call the police and report it. If you are frightened to remain in the home during lockdown, or if you need a protection order to keep you safe, contact Simon at Cape Town Divorce Attorneys on 086 099 5146 or email

Here’s a reminder of those important contact numbers:

  • GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / *120*7867# from any cell phone
  • Persons with disabilities, SMS ‘help’ to 31531
  • Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150
  • Childline: 0800 055 555
  • SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111 / SMS Crime Line: 32211
  • GBVF-related service complaints (SAPS): 0800 333 177/
  • National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
  • National Human Trafficking Helpline: 0800 222 777
  • Suicide Helpline: 0800 567 567
  • Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999
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Suffer the little children – Narcissist Behaviour

Narcissist relationship with SD Law


A while ago we wrote about narcissistic relationships. We were shocked and humbled by the response. It seems there are many people in our fair city who are suffering abuse at the hands of partners – male and female – and many were unaware that the behaviour they were experiencing constituted abuse.

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Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

Narcissist relationship help


You meet the love of your life. Charming, attractive, confident, attentive, like you in many ways… what more could you ask for? Maybe you even tie the knot. Then gradually you begin to notice a change in your partner’s behaviour towards you.

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