- Kelsey Erwin
Gun Violence and Intimate Partner Violence
With the alarming rise of gun violence across the United States, the connection between gun violence and domestic violence is at the forefront of many of our minds here at Sojourner. Advocates and law enforcement officials have long recognized an abuser's use of a gun to threaten or intimidate their partner as a key risk factor in predicting intimate partner homicide.
Thus far in 2021, 9 out of 14 victims of domestic violence homicide in Minnesota were killed by gun violence. The following is a small portion of a report from Everytown Research & Policy which highlights the link between gun violence and intimate partner homicide and the growing use of guns by abusers.
"Intimate partner violence and gun violence in the US are inextricably linked, impacting millions of women, families, and communities across the country. Abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their victims, and guns further exacerbate the power and control dynamic used by abusers to inflict emotional abuse and exert coercive control over their victims.
Every month, an average of 57 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Nearly 1 million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners, and 4.5 million women have reported being threatened with a gun by an intimate partner. In more than half of mass shootings over the past decade, the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member as part of the rampage. The ripple effects of firearms in the hands of an abuser extend far beyond the intimate relationship—affecting children who witness or live with it and the family members, coworkers, and law enforcement officers who respond to it."
"La’Shea was at her aunt’s house with her children when her ex-boyfriend shot her five times and then shot himself. 'He used to show up at my work and threaten me,' she recalls, citing several similar incidents. La’Shea went into a coma as a result of the shooting but miraculously survived. Today, the five bullets are still inside her. Her daughter is now an adult, and La’Shea advocates for gun violence prevention, sharing her story to draw attention to the deadly role of guns in intimate partner violence."
"Angela is a mother, grandmother, former law enforcement officer, and a survivor of intimate partner violence who has lived with the fear of being shot and killed by her ex-husband. Her ex-husband became abusive over time. 'I would often be woken up in the middle of the night with the sound of ‘spin click spin click’ from a gun while it was pressed to the back of my neck,' she remembers."
To learn more about how gun violence impacts victims of abuse, as well as local, state and federal policy recommendations to protect domestic violence victims and the communities in which they live, click the button below to read the full report.