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Guns and Abuse (it Happens to Famous People Too)

Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre: “My sister had this knife in front of my mother and he said put the knife down. And she wouldn’t do it. And he started reaching into the drawer for the gun. And I went around and I grabbed the knife out of my sister’s hand, and I said ‘there’ and put it on the table. He didn’t reach for the revolver. And everything’s blank for me from there on out.” Torre’s father was a NY city cop and serious domestic batterer. He and his siblings were forced to protect their mother, and there is a sense that if Joe hadn’t intervened with his sister, who was intervening to protect her mother, Joe’s father might have continued to pull that revolver out of the drawer. And then no telling how that story would have ended.  We know this story because Torre is a famous athlete who chose to go public to try to help others suffering from abuse.

If we look at statistics, we can speculate that the outcome would not have gone well if Torre’s father continued to pull the gun out. 

Nearly one-third of all women murdered in the United States in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner. It is estimated that more than three women a day, are killed by their intimate or former partners.  More than half are gunned down, murdered with guns. As an an average of 46 American women are shot to death each month by a current or former husband or boyfriend. 

According to Futures Without Violence  Access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide five times more than in instances where there are no weapons. In addition, abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners. A study of women physically abused by current or former intimate partners found a five-fold increased risk of the partner murdering the woman when the partner owned a gun.

While this is overwhelming and tragic enough, these numbers don’t even account for others who happen to be around when a gunman decides to shoot his/her partner. We are all at risk when these folks decide to kill. Another aspect these stats don’t address is the number of batterers killed by their victims fighting back or self afflicted gunshot wounds. Basically a lot of people are dying as a result…needlessly.

So, the question is what do we want to do about this? According to Jewish women International, a woman in a domestic violence situation that includes a gun is 500% more likely to be killed, while in states that require background check for handgun sales, there are 38% fewer women shot to death by intimate abusive partners. Seems like background checks are a no brainer if we want to reduce the number of murders. 

For more about Joe Torre’s story check out otherwise known as Safe at Home .

written by Lil Corcoran


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