Giving women guns wouldn’t prevent rape: it would land women in jail. That’s the headline hovering over an article at theguardian.com. Sounds like a follow-up to the popular children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, wherein a rodent with ADD runs the cookie-giver ragged. But Cookie book is comedy. OK, The Guardian article is too, only unintentional and darker . . .
In addition to the overwhelming research that shows guns are more likely to kill than protect women, it’s also fairly clear what would happen if women did arm themselves against rapists and abusers.
If a woman was raped and found not to be carrying a weapon, would we blame her for being foolish in the same way culture does now when women are attacked at night, or after they’ve had a drink?
Over the last few months, we’ve seen the way women are treated when they dared to simply out the men who hurt them – does anyone really believe women shooting them would somehow go over better?
And there I was thinking this article was about armed self-defense against rape. Straw man! Woman? Columnist Jessica Valenti’s (above) focus of victim blaming tells us that she knows that arguing against armed defense against rape puts her on a hiding to nowhere. Which is exactly where she goes . . .
And at what point should a woman who fears being raped shoot her attacker? Should she pull the trigger when he ignores her first “no”? After he pushes her on to a bed? Or would a woman need to wait until penetration is literally about to occur to shoot, just to be sure?
It’s one thing to be ignorant. It’s another to parade your ignorance like a Macy’s Day Parade Kermit the Frog. If Ms. Valenti did a femtosecond of research she’d know that a woman can shoot someone who poses an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm (rape qualifies) or death. There. That wasn’t hard, was it?
And it wouldn’t be hard for a woman facing an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm to convince the police, prosecutor, judge and/or jury of that fact and, thus, escape jail. Yes, even in New Jersey.
Somehow I don’t have faith that a court system that continually fails and blames rape victims would be very kind to women who kill their attackers. In fact, women who have tried to protect themselves from sexual or domestic violence haven’t been lauded as second-amendment heroes – they’ve been arrested.
Marissa Alexander was sent to prison after firing just a warning shot at her abusive husband. Bresha Meadows was just 14 years old when she shot her father in an attempt to protect her family from him – she was charged with aggravated murder. In both cases, not a peep was heard from the NRA. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that neither Meadows or Alexander is white.
Somehow I don’t have faith in Ms. Valenti’s objectivity . . .
Ms. Alexander was sent to jail for firing a “warning shot” straight at her alleged abuser, after retrieving her gun from her car, with a 12-year-old in close proximity. (Click here to read the details.)
As for Ms. Meadows’ supposed defensive gun use note that she shot her father while he was sleeping. And that members of Ms. Meadows’ family claimed her father had learned his lesson; he hadn’t abused his daughter in years. The [not all-white] jury agreed.
Guns have not and will not protect us. They won’t help women, they won’t help children. They kill us. Loesch and the NRA know this already; but their bottom line has long trumped the safety of the most vulnerable Americans.
In the words of my new hero, shooting survivor Emma González: I call BS.
And I call BS on Ms. Valenti calling BS.
Estimates of annual defensive gun uses (DGUs) vary, but it’s safe to say there are over a million DGUs per year. How many of those involved women? How many were a response to attempted rape? That’s not known.
But was IS known: tens of thousands of women carry a firearm to defend themselves from grievous bodily harm or death. They do so safe in the knowledge that it’s better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it. Put that in your anti-paternalistic pipe and smoke it!