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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence




Valentines Day 2019, a celebration of love, ironically marks a tragic event that saw the cold-blooded murder of seventeen students and staff members. The Parkland, Florida mass shooting serves as a poignant reminder of the wider gun-violence epidemic that continues to plague America. However, unlike the issue of mass shootings, domestic gun violence, another unnervingly pervasive strand of this epidemic, hasn't received the media attention it deserves.


  • 52 women are fatally shot by an intimate partner every month.

  • An abusers access to firearm risks of femicide by 400%

  • 55% of female homicides from 2003 - 2014 were committed by intimate partners, of whom 98% were male.


The truth is, the presence of guns in abusive relationships puts millions of women across the US in lethal danger every day. In order to piece together a robust-action plan, Nonviolence International (NVI) has explored, in five different blogs, the many elements that contribute to domestic gun violence. We believe the reform of federal gun legislation, the strengthening of law enforcement, challenging societal perceptions of masculinity, while having women at the forefront of this battle, is an absolute necessity if we are to collectively effect positive change.


As part of our sustained commitment to expose the horrors of gun violence against women and promote women’s leadership in the disarmament movement, Nonviolence International, as a partner of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), has joined this year’s Gun Free Valentine Campaign to fight domestic gun violence.

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Nadeen Yousef

Has it always been so dangerous to be a woman? Well, if you reside in the US and your partner is in possession of a gun, death is not such a far-fetched possibility. These days, an abuser’s access to firearms increases the risk of femicide by at least 400% [1]. It may also shock you to find out that 52 women, on average, are fatally shot by an intimate partner every month [2]. Domestic gun violence remains a dire reality, one where women are disproportionately put at risk. These statistics prove the extent to which the inclusion of guns in domestic violence drastically increases the likelihood of death. This combined with the added information that men constitute a 62% higher percentage of gun ownership than women [3]; The fact that intimate partner violence accounts for 55% of female homicides (2003 - 2014), of which 98% of the suspected perpetrators are men, shows a very alarming gender-biased dynamic [4].  Due to the divisive nature of the second amendment, efforts to improve gun-control have been grossly limited. This needs to change. As it stands, the right to bear arms, in a domestic context, persists to place millions of women across the US in lethal danger.

Neda Yildirim

In order to piece together a robust action-plan against domestic gun violence, a deeper and more exhaustive understanding of the current gaps in legislation is required. We must address the fact that existing federal laws are identifiably outdated and ineffective. Despite legal efforts to toughen gun-control, many loopholes continue to be exploited by abusers who are outside of traditional relationships [5]. Sustainable Development Goal 5.2 calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women in public and private spheres. Starting with the complete repossession of guns from convicted abusers, it’s up to America to demonstrate how a state, through the rectification and rigor of legislation and law enforcement, can drastically reduce gun violence within domestic abuse. Strengthening policy implementation is equally as important to helping guarantee the safety of women from the presence of firearms in abusive relationships.

The 21st Century's Wild Wild West: 
Toxic Masculinity and Domestic Gun Violence
Elisha Silva

Follow along as we analyze the association of guns with masculinity, heroism, machismo, and valor. The psychology around firearms, being a tangible display of bold masculinity, has commonly given men a  sense of domination and superior strength that is applauded and worshipped on television and other media. In contrast to reality, the product of gun ownership, coupled with toxic masculinity, can be seen as contributing factors to high percentages of mass shootings and domestic gun violence in America [6].

A Lethal Combination:
Firearms and Intimate Partner Violence
Fern White-Hilsenrath

Domestic violence is learned behavior.  Most men who abuse their partners were exposed to violence as children. This blog explores how abusers use guns for coercion and control of an intimate partner, as well as the red flags and warning signs of an abuser [7]. The Domestic Violence Abuse Intervention Project lets us explore men’s psychology and see several markers that psychologists look for in identifying emotional abuse and intimidation by a partner involved. Together, let’s work on ways that we can prevent the tragedies from happening in the future [8].

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Jenny Park

A misconception exists that weapons are used solely for protection and only cause harm when used by the wrong people. A misinformed  claim can be just as dangerous as a weapon, especially when it overlooks the dangers posed by guns and the millions of innocent people that have and  still fall victim to them. Women are disproportionately affected by gun violence in the home, especially in situations where Intimate Partner Violence exists. Intimate Partner Violence and domestic violence are human rights issues. Women across the country have traditionally been  silenced by abusers and neglected in policy decisions on arms control. Read along and see how both women and men can tackle issues surrounding gun reform and involving women in important policy decisions [9].

Call to Action

We’re inviting you to take part in our campaign against guns and domestic violence.  We urge you to use your voice to condemn the normalization of domestic violence, dispel myths about gun control and create momentum behind a movement that pressures legislators to update federal and local laws. Use this opportunity to join in these movements organized by IANSA:

Valentine's Day is over but the campaign is not!


Social Media


  • Tweet and share on social media this image with the hashtags: #GunFreeValentine #LoveLivesHereGunsDont #DisarmDomesticViolence #IANSAWomen

  • Tweet and share on social media a picture of you and your partner with the hashtags: #GunFreeValentine #LoveLivesHereGunsDont #IANSAWomen

  • Spread awareness of the issue of femicide and ideas for preventing it.  Share the report "Gender-related killing of women and girls" by the  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This study highlights what more can be done to prevent those killings.


References are important to our work. The success of this campaign depends on promoting factual and accurate information. All sources used are linked below, be sure to check them out for further guidance and research.

Past Campaigns!

Take a look at our past campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence  specifically highlighting the relationship between guns and Intimate Partner Violence. Click to learn more about these issues and actions you can take to save lives in your community.

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