A news story in the most popular national newspaper here, The Namibian, really hit home for me this week. A woman and her mother were both shot and killed by the woman’s boyfriend in a small town in the northeast of the country. The article indicates that there had been a long history of domestic abuse in the relationship. It’s the kind of sad story that is plastered all over the news in the US more often than any of us would like. It also illustrates in the most horrifying way the link between guns and domestic violence that IANSA is working to raise awareness about this year with their Disarming Domestic Violence campaign, and the reason I’m here.
Recently, Pauline and I were talking about the campaign with a man we had just met. He argued that the problem is not guns, but domestic violence itself, and he said that the most effective way to deal with the problem would be teaching people about effective conflict resolution. I agree with him that it is not only guns that are the problem, and that the roots of the problem lie deeper than the weapon that is used in a domestic violence situation. However, as IANSA has noted, guns make domestic violence more deadly. A gun increases the risk of death by 12 times, compared with other means of violence. In Namibia, the majority of victims of gun crimes (assault, murder, and muggings) between 2003 and 2006 were women. It is clear to me that something needs to be done to keep women safe, and that removing guns from the hands of abusers and other criminals would be an effective first step.
Posted By Johanna Wilkie
Posted Jun 11th, 2009