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The relationship between gun violence and women
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relationship between gun violence and women

The occurrence of domestic or intimate partner violence is an issue that rattles the structure of society to its core. The stable interaction among couples and family units are the foundation of successful communities across the country as well as future generations down the line. However, when a lack of communication develops and the dynamic becomes unequal, social interactions between partners can become destructive and abusive. Abuse can arise in many forms between men and women, especially when archaic gender roles come into play.

While domestic violence has been showcased over the decades in the form of shocking exposés and general statistics, the specifics of these collections of data have been commonly brushed over. When one delves deeper into the details of domestic violence, findings uncover connections with other pressing issues in the United States.

One powerful association is with gun control laws and armed aggression. Statistically speaking, men predominantly buy, sell, use and even die by guns. However, this evidence shows that while women are virtually uninvolved in any matters of gun use, they still comprise a sizeable amount of its victims.

A relevant report on domestic violence from the Violence Policy Center titled, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2012 Homicide Data, brings more of these troubling trends to light. First of all, 93 percent of women are killed not by strangers, but people they are familiar with. Unfortunately, the majority of these known assailants are intimate partners. In regard to specifics, 52 percent of victims were shot and killed with a gun when a weapon could be identified. The evidence also found that, geographically, Arizona placed in the top ten states of female homicide rates with 56 victims during that year.

Overall, Arizona’s gun death rate is 40 percent higher than the national average, making it one of the most dangerous areas in the nation in that respect. These facts are largely due to the state’s non-restrictive gun laws, which maintain that any individual 21 years or older is allowed to carry a weapon openly or concealed without a license, as long as he or she is not a prohibited possessor. Moreover, various groups of gun supporters have responded to the rate of female victims and fatalities by suggesting that more women should buy guns for protection. However, these propositions are strongly challenged by overwhelming evidence, as one study showed that a woman with a gun in her household was almost three times more prone to be murdered than one without a gun in the home.

Activism for increased gun laws and decreased gun violence in Arizona has been an uphill battle. Continuing throughout 2015, the state senate has been faced with a bill that would allow guns in public buildings and a another bill that would block enforcement of federal gun control. While the former was rejected, the latter proposal passed. On the bright side, many advocate groups against guns and female-targeted violence continue to do their part, although most effort goes toward treating the aftermath of related abuse and trauma.

While the road to safer streets and homes is only gaining traction in some regions, resources for recovery are readily available to mend and protect at-risk communities.

At Sovereign Health of Arizona, our team of licensed mental health, addiction, trauma and abuse experts has concentrated their efforts on helping women heal from wounds of abuse and violence. Through innovative, holistic therapies and other treatment options, these specialists have systematically improved the lives of countless women throughout the state. If you or someone you love needs help with domestic or intimate violence, contact us online or by calling 866-598-5661.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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