NEW YORK — Everytown and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements to mark the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence and gun violence are inextricably linked, impacting millions of families and communities across the country.
Gun-related domestic violence is a deadly crisis facing women and families in the U.S. due to weak gun laws that for decades made it easy for domestic abusers to access guns. Guns exacerbate the power and control dynamic used by domestic abusers to inflict emotional abuse and exert coercive control over their victims — which was worsened by conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to firearms makes domestic abusers five times more likely to kill their female victims.
“Domestic abusers with easy access to guns is a deadly combination for far too many women and children in America,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Domestic violence and gun violence are deeply intertwined and must be addressed. This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we continue to stand alongside survivors in calling on lawmakers to take action on common-sense methods to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence.”
“Domestic violence can impact anyone at any time, and that trauma can reverberate throughout a lifetime,” said La’Shea Cretain, an Everytown Senior Survivor Fellow, volunteer with California Moms Demand Action, and a gun violence survivor whose ex-boyfriend shot her five times 26 years ago today. “That’s why it is so important that during Domestic Violence Awareness month, and every month, we work to uplift the survivors and victims of this public health crisis and continue pushing for change.”
“There is no question that there’s more work to be done to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence,” said Chloe Gayer, a Students Demand Action National Advisory Board member and a gun violence and domestic violence survivor in Iowa. “I know firsthand the pain and trauma of surviving domestic violence does not end. We fight to honor survivors and encourage leaders to continue working to advance protections that will prevent this crisis from impacting others.”
While federal lawmakers have stepped up and taken meaningful steps recently toward addressing domestic violence involving a firearm, including reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and addressing the intimate partner loophole, there is still more work to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers. Every month, 70 women in the U.S. are shot and killed by intimate partners and nearly 1 million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner. Also, over 3.7 million women reported being threatened with a gun by an intimate partner.
Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant and postpartum women compared to all other maternal mortality causes. In 2020, 81 percent of these homicides were committed with a gun and majority of them occurred at home, implying the nexus of domestic violence and guns. Black women and girls and young women are disproportionately impacted by pregnancy-associated homicides.
This October, Everytown is honoring survivors and advocating for proven solutions to prevent domestic violence including keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and increasing access to services and trained advocates. Over the past two years, the Everytown Gun Safety Support Fund has provided nearly $200,000 in grants to help 30 domestic violence organizations offset hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant program is continuing to support local and state domestic violence organizations with a demonstrated track record of supporting victims of domestic violence in their community with a focus on Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color. Learn more about the grantees here or how to apply for the 2022 mini grants here.
More information on gun-related domestic violence is available here. To speak with a policy expert, Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or intimate partner violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, available 24/7, for confidential assistance from a trained advocate. If you’re unable to speak safely via phone, you can chat online at thehotline.org.