Men who are murdered are overwhelmingly murdered by strangers. But more than a third of women who are murdered, are killed by husbands and boyfriends and other people they know. (See crime statistics here.)
This puts a very, very different face on effective defense for women than for men.
At the Rangemaster Tactical Conference several years ago, Massad Ayoob gave a presentation titled, “Lessons from Recent Cases.” It was an eye-opening look at three self-defense cases that went to court, and the legal issues that came into play during each one. One of the cases involved a woman who defended herself against her estranged husband. Based on the information Mas gave, it was a good shoot. But I found myself mourning for a woman who ended up having to shoot (and kill) her children’s father, just to survive the immediate threat to her life.
That’s a rough, rough thing. Nobody should ever have to face such a thing. And yet, she did.
Hesitating to put this one up, because I suspect it’ll garner a few “why didn’t she just leave him?” type comments. For those who might be tempted to ask, you should realize that 1) she had, and 2) it’s not often that easy, and 3) one of the reasons it’s not that easy is because leaving the abuser often triggers the most extreme violence of all.
Since the title of this post is “depressing statistics,” here’s one: 70% of women killed by abusive partners are killed after they leave the guy.
This also puts a different complexion on the whole “more likely to shoot someone you know” debate about firearms ownership and gun laws. If a woman is more likely to be murdered by someone she knows than by a stranger, then maybe all those arguments about women who own guns being “more likely” to be used to kill people they know than it is to be used to kill a stranger does not mean that the gun (all on its own, natch) is somehow slaying innocent people that a woman loves. Maybe at least some of the “used to kill someone she knows” numbers are driven by legitimate cases of self defense against a true and deadly threat.
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Great to see you posting articles here again Kathy. Hope to see more. You’re such a great writer.