JOHANNESBURG – The mother of the South African woman killed by athlete Oscar Pistorius said on Tuesday that she does not care about an upcoming appeal, even if it leads to a harsher sentence for the Paralympic medalist.
"How is it going to help me?" June Steenkamp, the mother of Pistorius' slain girlfriend asked.
Pistorius' lawyers will later this week challenge a judge's decision to allow prosecutors to appeal the runner's negligent killing conviction for shooting Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Prosecutors want Pistorius convicted of the more serious crime of murder and were granted permission to take the case to South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal.
Steenkamp instead is focusing on the planned Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation to combat domestic violence and the book she wrote about her daughter.
Steenkamp would not be drawn into questions about whether she believed her daughter was a victim of domestic violence. Instead, she urged women to speak out about abuse, when she discussed her book and the foundation at a public event at the University of Johannesburg.
"Teach your daughters to have the confidence to come forward. I knew nothing about Oscar's guns and his way of life," Steenkamp said. "It was very strange that they were fighting in a three month relationship."
Steenkamp held up the book she has written about her daughter as she spoke, and took the opportunity to discuss "Reeva: A Mother's Story," published in November last year.
"She was, in the trial, referred to as `the deceased.' She became invisible. People forgot that someone died here. My daughter died. Horribly."
Despite her heartbreak, Steenkamp said she is not seeking revenge against the amputee athlete.
"I don't want him to suffer in any way, because he's a disabled person," said Steenkamp to loud applause from the packed room.
The foundation will do the work the slain model would have done if she had lived, said Steenkamp. Shortly before her death, Reeva Steenkamp was preoccupied by the rape and murder of a South African teenager, she said.
"This is the work she left for me," she said.