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Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-199X
  • E-ISSN: 1751-7974



This article reflects on the murders of Reeva Steenkamp (2013), Jayde Panayiotou (2015), Susan Rhode (2016) and Karabo Mokoena (2017) and questions how victims of intimate femicide are portrayed in the South African media. Media reporting on intimate femicide clearly illustrates how the murder of women by their intimate partners, are framed as isolated incidents rather than a systemic problem situated within a social context of male dominance. It is therefore increasingly important to understand how the media portrays victimhood and violence. This article explores how the murder of women by their partners are rarely classified as femicide, and how the media’s portrayal of these murders fails to convey the systemic nature of violence against women that also entrenches racial and class-based oppression by seemingly valuing some lives more than others. The focus is on the power of the media to obscure the nature of intimate partner violence, which entrenches a notion of ideal victimhood. In conclusion, the South African government’s response to this form of violence is explored, and the need for responsible reporting is called for in reporting on cases of intimate femicide.


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