Here’s a public service announcement for women: there are ten states you need to avoid living in if you value your life and the lives of your daughters. It is Domestic Violence Awareness month and it is obvious we STILL have a major problem in this country regarding domestic violence. Not surprisingly, it is a problem directly connected to gun violence. Also, there’s a case before the United States Supreme Court now whether someone convicted of domestic violence can be prohibited from owning a gun.
The Violence Policy Center recently released a study based on 2011 homicide data of women killed by men. The numbers were obtained from the FBI and included only homicides including one female and one male. The goal of this report was to dispel some of the myths surrounding lethal violence against women.
In 2011, there were 1,707 female homicides of single victim/single offender:
- 94% of the time women (1,509 out of 1,601) were murdered by men they knew
- 60% of the murder victims (926) who knew the man, were wives or intimate acquaintances
- 264 of the women were shot and killed by their husband or intimate partner during an argument
- when a weapon could be determined, the majority of women (51%) were killed with a firearm, predominantly an handgun; 20% by stabbing, 14% bodily force or blunt trauma
Here are the top ten dangerous states for women based on the 2011 study:
It is not a coincidence that the top ten dangerous states for women are also among those states with high gun ownership and lax gun laws. Women who are or have been in abusive relationships often consider getting a firearm as a means of protection. Yet, gun ownership contains clear risks which should be a serious concern for women. When a gun is in the home, a women is three times more likely to be shot and killed by a husband, partner or family relative than if no gun was available. In other words, a gun purchased by a woman for protection is more likely to be used against her than in protecting her.
The case before the Supreme Court involves James Castleman, who in 2001 pleaded guilty under Tennessee law to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence against the mother of his child. In 2009, Castleman was found in possession of several guns, which was prohibited by a 1996 law that made it illegal for those who have misdemeanor convictions of domestic violence involving physical force or a deadly weapon to possess guns. Allegedly, Castleman was purchasing weapons and selling them illegally. An appeals court in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled that the federal law does not apply in Castleman’s case because his domestic violence conviction did not involve physical force.
Besides the known fact that guns and domestic violence are a lethal mix, many offenders are able to plea their conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor. If a violent offender were allowed to legally possess firearms, it’s then just a matter of time before that misdemeanor assault becomes a felony homicide.
As my geeky husband Saint Sam is always reminding me, numbers do not lie. If we value the sanctity of life, we must value the sanctity of women’s lives. It’s time to face reality. To those who say “guns don’t kill, people kill” my response is, “men use guns to kill women.”
An after-thought to ponder: how many of those states also fall into the geography of haters? Coincidence?