January 14 2013

There’s Nothing GLAMOURous About Being A Victim

Anna Rittgers

What’s so strange about women protecting themselves and their families?

Apparently, Glamour magazine believes that illustrating how gun rights are a women’s issue constitutes nothing more than “strange, sensationalizing polemics.”

In fact, women are the fastest growing demographic seeking and obtaining concealed carry permits for personal protection, and according to a statistical roundup by MSN Living:

  • gun-store owners have recorded a 73 percent increase in female customers
  • women buying guns specifically for personal defense has climbed by more than 83 percent.
  • female participation in target shooting rose from 3.3 million in 2001 to 5 million in 2011, a 51 percent increase
  • female participation in hunting lept 42 percent from 1.8 million to nearly 2.6 million over the same period
  • an October 2011 Gallup poll showed a record-high 43 percent of American women self-reported a gun in their home or somewhere on their property (compared to 52 percent of men), up 7 percent from the prior year.

In addition, gun manufacturers are responding to the drastic increase in women interested in gun ownership

Looks like Glamour’s views on women and guns are out of fashion.

A Glamour editor deems me “irresponsible” for speaking out against politicians who want to prevent women from using the most effective means available for personal defense. 

It is not irresponsible to advocate that women take measures against victimization, it is empowering!

Everyday across the country, law-abiding women (and men) use firearms to thwart violent attacks—often without having to even fire a shot (you can read some of the accounts here and here).

Not only do women face the threat of attacks by strangers--for many women, there is danger present in their own homes. 

Glamour states that four women a day are killed by abusive boyfriends and husbands, and their campaign against relationship violence is called  “Tell Someone.”  I wholeheartedly agree—women trapped in abusive relationships should tell someone, preferably the police.  But that is not enough.  Their next step should be to take all measures available to protect themselves, and refuse to be another statistic.  

There are stories upon stories about women who were killed by the very men they had restraining orders against. The National Center for Victims of Crime states that 70 percent of protected orders are violated.  But guns can and do save women's lives.  A Hessville, Indiana saved her own life by shooting her stalker when he broke into her house and attacked her:

“Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said on Wednesday he was turning down any charges against the woman in the death of Ryan Lee Bergner, 41, considering her actions to be in self-defense and defense of property.

The Nov. 12 shooting of Bergner as he cornered the 51-year-old woman in an upstairs bedroom closet capped a month of escalating terror -- chronicled in a series of police reports filed by the woman -- which included break-ins, vandalism and assaults in her workplace.

They had briefly dated over the summer, but Bergner couldn't accept that she didn't want to be his girlfriend, and wouldn't take "no" for an answer, the woman said.

That fatal Monday night, she was watching television at 10:30 p.m. when she heard a window breaking, and called 911.

An audio recording of her conversation with the emergency dispatcher, from the initial break-in to her escape from the dying Bergner six minutes later, was released by Hammond police on Wednesday.

"I'm so scared," the woman said to the 911 operator, who told her to lock herself in a bedroom until police arrived.

Bergner had already broken into her house two days earlier, she reported to police, destroying a clock-radio and stealing several of her undergarments.

"I heard him turn a light on, a hallway light," she told the dispatcher as she hid in a closet, armed with a pistol a friend had given her for protection.

"What are you doing?" she can be heard asking over the sound of her bedroom door being kicked in. "Stop it! Please stop it! Just stop it!"

Gunshots can clearly be heard on the recording. She later said Bergner was on top of her in the closet, his hands around her throat, choking her.

Police found her in her front yard when they arrived moments later, and found Bergner, wearing black leather gloves and a brown leather jacket, lying partially in the bedroom closet with three bullet wounds to his abdomen, a 9 mm pistol on the bed nearby.

"That tape is absolutely chilling," said Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller, who worked for years as a detective with the department's sex crimes division.

Miller said he is regularly asked to speak at meetings of women's organizations and support groups for victims of domestic violence, and in the future will be taking the recording along with him as an example of what can happen”.

A man who will stalk or abuse you does not respect you or the law.  Stalking, domestic violence, and assault are already illegal—if he’s breaking those laws, what makes you think he’ll obey a restraining order? 

The unfortunate reality is that when seconds count, the police are minutes away.  Furthermore, the police have no duty to protect individual crime victims.   Women are ultimately the only ones responsibile for their safety.  Purchase a firearm, get training on how to use the weapon, and then get a concealed carry license. 

Note to Glamourdonating used bras will not end domestic violence, and more laws restricting gun ownership will not stop violent crime.  The only way to stop a bad guy (or gal) from harming someone is for a good guy (or gal) to fight back with force.

Encouraging more gun laws will only result in more victims, as law-abiding citizens would continue to obey the law, while criminals continue to ignore it.

 

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