Recently the NRA and GOP have been pushing a media campaign centered around women, rape and the Second Amendment. While rape has been on the decline in the United States over the last 10 years, neither the NRA nor GOP backers have been able to produce data that even hints that this is due to firearm usage by would-be victims. Instead, they’ve used the decline in rape and the increase in firearms sales and concealed weapon laws to form their argument – but nothing in the form of actual data. This may be due to the GOP backed moratorium on firearm violence research funding for the CDC.
Interestingly the fervor for more guns to prevent rape and violence toward women comes from the same party that had to be arm-twisted into re-authorizing VAWA. Let’s not forget that some misinformed or misogynistic members of the GOP had the clarity to suggest that women cannot be impregnated by rape because they can “shut that whole thing down” and that they’re usually “asking for it” when it does happen. But now that it’s politically advantageous they’ve taken up the cause to protect the women of America from sexual violence.
Here are some facts: The US Bureau of Justice reported that from 2005-10, 78% of sexual violence involved an offender who was a family member, intimate partner, friend, or acquaintance. In the same time period only 11% of the offenders were armed with a weapon. Approximately 90% of the offenders were acting alone and almost 70% of the time the rape or assault occurred in the home of the victim or the home of a family member, partner, friend or acquaintance.
It’s very likely that there were firearms available in many of the locations where the violence took place, so the information on how many rapes are stopped by firearms being used against fathers, uncles, brothers, boyfriends, cousins, neighbors and husbands should be available. However, no conclusive evidence has been put forward.
It’s a shame that the NRA and the GOP need to use rape and violence against women in order to push the sales and agenda of the gun industry, especially in light of the horrific realities of rape and sexual assault. The right to own firearms isn’t going anywhere; they are a tool on the table of humankind, for better or worse, and they will remain in the toolbox of American society for the foreseeable future.
Rape CAN be dramatically reduced–through education and a significant change in how men in our society view and treat women though–not with more firearms.