Black women are still left out of larger discussions of domestic violence because society at large does not care about their lives.
This essay contains discussions of violence against women
Last week, Dr. Tamara O'Neal was gunned down by her ex-fiancé, along with two others in the hospital where she worked. It's reminiscent of when Karen Smith was killed during a school shooting carried out by her husband last year. He was a beloved pastor, though former partners had accused him of domestic violence in the past.
Last week, Stefanie Vallery was stabbed to death by her estranged husband, and her sister and daughter were both severely injured while trying to protect her. So was Aisha Fraser, in front of her children. Her ex-husband, a former judge, had assaulted her so badly in 2014 that she needed facial reconstruction surgery. He served only nine months. Both of these instances harken back to when Jeannine Skinner was stabbed to death by her boyfriend last year. They had been dating a little over two months and he had a long history of domestic violence. She’d hoped she could help him.
[caption id="attachment_50271" align="aligncenter" width="400"]
Dr. Tamara O'Neal (Monte Gerlach Photography via AP)[/caption]
Black women—followed closely by Native American women—are murdered more than any other race in the U.S., which means they are at disproportionate risk for death by domestic violence.
In 1996, the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, also known as the Lautenberg Amendment, was established to prevent accused and convicted domestic abusers from purchasing guns. However, this ban did not require them to turn over any guns they already owned. Since then, some states have rectified this, effectively closing this gap, but most states have not, and this isn't the only loophole—the ban only applies to domestic and marital relationships and people who have children together, which leaves many people vulnerable within the “boyfriend loophole”.
Additionally, abusers have even gone to court in efforts to have their gun rights returned to them, as they feel they never should have been taken away in the first place. Lawyers arguing their case have insisted that there is a hierarchy of violence, where if the violence is planned, it should be considered as a reason to keep guns away from the abuser, but that impulsive violence shouldn’t—which intentionally ignores the millions of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). A study about nonfatal gun use in IPVs found that almost one million women in the U.S. had been shot or shot at by their partner, and about 4.5 million reported that an intimate partner threatened them with a gun. There is too strong of a relationship between IPV/domestic violence and mass shootings for us to keep shuffling misogyny and patriarchy on the back-burner during our conversations and actions to end gun violence.
SUPPORT WEAR YOUR VOICE: DONATE HERE