This blog 'Common Gunsense' explores various issues around guns and gun violence, including armed domestic violence.

Today I volunteered at my local Family Justice Center for women who need help with issues around domestic violence. It is always busy on Monday mornings. The week-end seems to bring out the worst as families spend more time together and perhaps alcohol is used and abused. One woman came in with her small children needing an Order for Protection. A second young woman came in looking very afraid. She was accompanied by a friend as is often the case. Another came in to use the computer in a safe setting. Yet another came in to get legal aid to help with custody issues and to find out where she could go for safe family visitations.

Luckily in Duluth we have the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs which has a Family Visitation Center where families can go for safe family visits and safe exchanges of children between spouses or partners who have abused and been abused. The center is serving 100 families who have been affected by domestic abuse. Duluth is a small city. Multiply these numbers for larger cities and you can see that domestic abuse is a serious national concern.

Some who read this blog claim that violence perpetrated by women against men is higher than the opposite. This article refutes that notion. On the face of it the argument used about violence against men is a non sequitur. And for what purpose is it even made? If you read the article, linked above, you will find that the purpose is to deny the real problem, which is domestic violence against women. From the article: "Perhaps more to the point, females are more likely than males to sustain severe or injurious violence and to require medical treatment. When you take the data out of context, in some cases, women come up as violent as men," says Meda Chesney-Lind, Ph.D., a criminologist, professor of women's studies at the University of Hawaii, and author, most recently, of 'Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence.' "But men will often use the excuse 'she hit me first' to justify decking her or throwing her against a wall. She slaps him, and that's used as a pretext to beat the crap out of her. She's the one who winds up in the hospital."

Many domestic abuse deaths are caused by gunshot injuries. To solve this problem, one of the solutions is to make sure that domestic abusers are prohibited from buying or owning guns. There are those who object to including domestic abusers in the prohibited purchaser category of the National Instant Check System. Why? There is resistance to prohibiting anyone from owning guns because it must necessarily (to them) mean that will lead to ALL people being prohibited from buying and owning guns. This is nonsense, of course. Common sense needs to prevail concerning domestic violence.

The Women's Network; International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is an organization one of whose purpose it is to prevent domestic violence against women all over the world. A separate campaign, described here, is to educate about the particular problem of the use of guns in domestic abuse. The organization works to connect groups working on the issue of women and gun violence. Now this makes common sense.

And from the Violence Policy Center: "More than five times as many women were murdered by an intimate acquaintance (605) than by a stranger (113) in the year 2000. Additionally, while firearm homicides involving male victims were mostly intra-gender, 95 percent of female firearm homicide victims were murdered by a male."

More facts about gun violence against women can be found at the Brady Campaign website. Just one of the facts researched on the site about guns used in violence against women reveals that:" In 2008, 7,451 women were treated in emergency rooms for a gunshot wound. Sixty-six percent of the injuries (4,892) were assault-related (NCIPC)."

Domestic abuse and the concurrent violence related injuries is a big concern in our communities. It needs a concerted and coordinated effort to prevent women from suffering severe mental and physical abuse. Yes, there are cases of women who abuse men. However, since I serve on the Board of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) and volunteer at the local Family Justice Center,

I know that it is women who are most often the victims. The Power and Control Wheel clearly delineates that it is the need for power and control that leads to most domestic abuse. This power is mostly used by men against women. The cycle of violence is too often broken when the abused woman is killed by her abuser. The unexpected happened in my family when my sister became a victim in a case of domestic violence during a divisive divorce proceeding. I am thankful that there are organizations to serve the many women in need. These organizations may save the lives of some women who have nowhere else to go. I admire the professional staff and volunteers who work to make the world a safer place for women and children.

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