4.5 million U.S. women estimated to have been threatened with guns by their partners

A woman walks with a sign to protest gun violence and call for sensible gun laws outside the White House June 13, 2016, in Washington, DC. (MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study on the non-fatal use of guns in domestic violence incidents, estimates that some 4.5 million women in the U.S. have ever been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner, while another one million have been shot at or survived a gunshot wound. “There hasn’t been much research on guns and women in the first place,” Susan Sorenson, professor at the University of Pennsylvania who was the lead author of the study said. “What has been conducted tends to focus on women’s deaths. This research focuses on women’s lives.”

The study is the first systematic review of non-fatal gun incidents in domestic violence and is important because it reveals a simple but often unacknowledged truth: Even when guns are not effectively used, they can play a key role in coercing victims in abusive relationships. “If the gun is simply displayed in a hostile way, it can create an ongoing environment of threat and intimidation,” Sorenson explained. “It can facilitate chronic, ongoing, physical — as well as sexual and psychological — abuse.” Because of a lack of available research on the topic, Sorenson and her team had to base their estimates on statistics that were nearly 20 years old. She argues that more research could help craft better policy aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of abusers. “It’s a topic that has not been looked at much,” she said “But it’s really essential to women’s lives.”

Read the full story at The Trace.


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