DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND GUNS-A REALITY
Touch me with the softness of your hand
Touch me with the sparkle in your eye
Touch me with the Spirit of the Holy Land
Touch me with the freedom of the sky
Chorus of song by Crucis
Two of the most frightening times in my parish ministry were intervening in domestic disputes. I received phone calls from the two women who called me for help. I should have called the police, but I wanted to help, believing I was capable, and of course could be the rescuer. Upon arrival at their homes, the gravity of the threats gave me the shakes and pause. Thankfully, there was no violence. Both women peacefully ended their relationships and one of them moved out of city. Sadly, “peacefully” is not always the case. I spoke with a police officer recently and he said one of the top three most dangerous responses he deals with are those of domestic violence.
WHAT IS THE REALITY? According to PROTECT MINNESOTA (www.protectmn.org), the presence of a gun in the home makes it five times more likely that a woman in the home will be murdered by an abusive domestic partner. In an average month, 50 American women are shot to death by intimate partners, and many more are injured. Women in the USA are 16 times more likely to be killed by a domestic partner than in other high income countries, making the USA the most dangerous country in the developed world when it comes to gun violence against women. Nearly one million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner. About 4.5 million American women alive today have been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner. In the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides in the USA have been committed by guns than in all other weapons combined. Almost 50% of mass shootings are related to domestic violence.
According to EVERYTOWN (www.everytownresearch.org), at least 52% of American women killed with guns are killed by an intimate partner or family member. In 57% of mass shootings between January 2009 and June 2014, the perpetrator killed an intimate partner or family member. Whereas women make up only 13% of victims of gun homicide nationwide, they make up 51% of victims of mass shootings between 2009-2014. America’s rate of lethal gun violence against women per 100,000 female residents compared with other high income countries: USA 1.11, England 0.02, Sweden 0.08, Norway 0.00, Finland 0.11, Denmark 0.14, france 0.13, Germany 0.06.
According to THE TRACE (www.thetrace.org), every year, more than half the women murdered in the USA die at the hand of a spouse or romantic partner, nearly always a man, and 50% of those killings are with firearms. THE GIFFORD’S LAW CENTER reports that each year at least 600 women are shot and killed by their intimate partners, that’s one woman every 16 hours. According to the FBI, there were 114 intimate partner homicides of women in Minnesota between 2005-2014, 53% of them by gun. In 2016, 10 of 18 (56%) of domestic violence homicides in Minnesota were committed by guns.
“AGAIN ONE IN HUMAN FORM touched me and strengthened me. He said, ‘Do not fear greatly beloved, you are safe. Be strong and courageous.!'” (Daniel 10:18-19) Life in Christ is about soft touches.
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes