Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Violence against women

An OpEd in the Duluth News Tribune and a story from Texas caught my eye in the last few days. A very thoughtful piece, written by two people who work with domestic abuse in the Duluth area deserves attention and action. The article, " Oppression goes beyond racism" gets to the core of a very real problem right here under our noses. Domestic abuse not only terrorizes women all over our country, but often results in the death of women. It is instructive to read the words of Scott Miller and Jeremy Nevilles-Sorell, who work with Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs in Duluth, because they are speaking "truth to power". That power is what the men who come to DAIP after being arrested and/or convicted of a violent act against a spouse or partner use to keep women in control. These are men who use their perceived power against women they claim to love. How many times have we seen these stories? Books are written, movies are made, T.V. shows feature such stories as fiction. But fiction is reality when it comes to domestic abuse.

Another story that screams out for our attention is this one from Texas about a man accused of murdering his pregnant wife because "she deserved it." How many times have we read this story? Far far too many. Many of the gun deaths in our country are due to domestic violence. Why do we shrug and say that is not our problem? It's a family matter. Too bad for the victim; she didn't deserve this; he was such a nice guy, etc. But as long as there are attitudes that enable racism, oppression, abuse against women, our love affair with guns, power and control of one group over another, we will continue to read these terrible stories in our newspapers and hear about them on the news. As long as we turn the other way and refuse to stand up against these insidious attitudes, we are all complicit in perpetuating the problem.

At DAIP ( on which Board I serve) wonderful things are happening. Staff are training people all over the world to deal with domestic abuse in a proactive manner. I admire all who work for the amazing programs associated with DAIP. They are doing the hard work to make the world a better and safer place for many. In my volunteer work with the Family Justice Center associated with the Safe Haven Shelter for women, I have come to a different perspective about those who are abused. They are women from all socioeconomic groups and all races and ages. They are desperate and afraid for their safety and their lives. What would they do without these services in our community? I wish I had known more about this while my sister was going through her difficult divorce. She filed a restraining order against her estranged husband.

I didn't know that until after she had been shot to death by him. Unfortunately, it is often too late. This issue should be more openly discussed in our country. There should be more support for the programs that help to prevent the abusive relationships and help women leave their situations. There should be more support for making sure that domestic abusers are required to have background checks from unlicensed sellers at gun shows so they are prohibited from getting their weapons to use against those "who deserve it". If we don't start somewhere, how can we stop this world wide problem of violence against women? Stand up and support the programs and policies that will make life more safe for women. And ask elected leaders to do the same. It is their job as well as ours to keep us safe from violence in our communities.

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