Tag Archives: female

Women and Gun Control – Part 2


As public debate over the long gun registry heats up, the Gun Control Lobby is continuing to push their stance of gun control being a women’s issue.  In particular, they are claiming that it is a rural women’s issue.  I decided to take a look at this stance in a three part series.

In Part 1, I discussed how the current system of gun control in Canada is diverting money away from programs that could help women who are victims of abuse.  In Part 3, I will be dealing with self defense.

In this part, I’m going to break down the numbers regarding violent crime, family violence and homicide in this country.  Where does it happen, who are the victims, and what are the causes.

Causes

Contrary to what gun control and feminist advocates would have us believe, guns are not a risk factor for domestic violence.  According to the Canadian Department of Justice, the major risk factors for spousal violence are

  • being a young person
  • living in a common law relationship
  • having a partner who periodically drinks heavily
  • emotional abuse in the relationship, and
  • marital separation

Statistics Canada also adds being Aboriginal to that list.  20% of the Aboriginal population has reported being victims of family violence compared with 7% of the non-Aboriginal population.

A journal article, National Trends in Intimate Partner Homicides: Explaining Declines in Canada 1976-2001 made some more interesting points.  I would especially like to point out the date range of this study, 1976-2001, and remind my readers that the long gun registry did not come into force until 2001.

Over the time period studied, spousal homicide rates had declined by about 50%, falling from 8.5 (per million spouses) in 1976 to 4.2 in 2001.  Spousal homicides using a firearm had declined by 81% over the same time period. 

For those who like to make comparisons with the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1976-2000 our “gun loving” cousins to the south saw a decline in spousal homicides of 45%.  Keep in mind that gun ownership in the US of A increases by about 4.5 million guns per year.  Allow me to repeat that: over a 24 year period, as gun ownership increased spousal homicide decreased.

According to the National Trends article, the reasons for these declines in both countries were

  • male to female employment ratios (more women had jobs)
  • higher education levels for both men and women
  • marrying later in life
  • starting a family later in life and having fewer children
  • social programs which make it easier for victims to leave their abusers

I hope my anti-gun readers have noted how guns and gun control are not mentioned anywhere as either a cause or a solution to the issues of domestic violence.

Where does it happen?

There is definitely some truth to the claim that rural Canadians are more at risk of spousal violence than their urban neighbours. 

  POPULATION SHELTERS SHELTERS PER 100,000 RATE OF SPOUSAL VIOLENCE*
Canada 33,739,900 569 1.7 188
Nfld & Labrador 508,900 15 2.9 123
PEI 141,000 5 3.5 128
Nova Scotia 938,200 16 1.7 145
New Brunswick 749,500 22 2.9 84
Quebec 7,828,900 126 1.6 241
Ontario 13,069,200 160 1.2 141
Manitoba 1,222,000 29 2.4 215
Saskatchewan 1,030,100 24 2.3 329
Alberta 3,687,700 50 1.4 249
BC 4,455,200 110 2.5 124**
Yukon 33,700 5 14.8 421
NWT 43,400 7 9.3 1,605
Nunavut 32,200 2,472

* Rate per 100,000 population
** Incomplete data for British Columbia

There is little data available on the reasons for the greater incidence of abuse in rural areas.  One thing that is known is that there is less help available to victims of spousal violence in rural Canada.  Even though the territories have a high per capita number of shelters, those shelters have very limited services available.  Additionally, because of the vast distances involved in all rural areas, it is not always possible for victims of abuse to reach help when it is available.  Other factors like education levels, financial dependence and divorce rates also play a role in this urban/rural divide. 

While spousal violence may be a bigger issue in rural Canada, there is no clear divide when it comes to violent crime and homicide.  Large and small communities are affected equally in this regard.  There are many socio-economic factors that come into play.

Who are the victims?

Here’s where the numbers become interesting.  There are about 330,000 victims of violent crime in Canada each year.  If we believe our misandrist lobby groups, the number of female victims should far exceed the number of male victims.  Right?

Wrong.  In 2007, 50.04% of the victims of violent crime were female.  Basic math tells me that 49.96% of the victims were male.  Hardly a staggering difference.  In cases of domestic violence, 7% of women and 6% of men have reported violence at the hands of their partner.  Again, hardly a noticeable difference. 

Specifically regarding family violence, the numbers are still not so different, with 63% of female victims and 61% of male victims suffering from common assault (Level 1).  However, the results are not always so balanced.  Men are twice as likely as women to be the victim of a serious assault (Level 2 or 3 – assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm). 

Common assault has been declining steadily since the 1970s, however serious assault has been increasing for the last 25 years, falling for the first time in 2008.  It’s no large stretch to see that violence against women is on the decrease, while violence against men is on the increase.

Let’s take a similar look at homicides in Canada.  In 2008, the lowest rate (24%) of female victims since 1961 was recorded.  Conversely, the rate of male homicide victims has been rising steadily for the last 10 years.  In terms of spousal homicide, women are 4 times as likely as men to be killed by a current or former intimate partner (51 vs. 14 for 2007).

To summarize all those numbers and add a couple of new ones:

  • men are twice as likely as women to be assaulted with a weapon
  • men are three times more likely to be the victim of a homicide
  • all forms of violence against women have been falling since the 1960s
  • all forms of violence against men have remained stable or have been increasing
  • spousal violence and homicide has been falling since the 1970s
  • women are four times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner
  • homicide by long gun (rifle/shotgun) has been falling steadily since the 1970s
  • homicide by handgun has increased by 24% since 2002

Putting it all together

Well, now that I’ve bamboozled you with statistics, what does it all mean?

It means that violence in our society is not a simple issue.  Gun control advocates and feminist groups would have us believe that women are always the helpless victim at the hands of Neanderthal men. 

What I have attempted to show you with all these facts is that, while women are more often the victim in specific circumstances, the same holds true for men.  Guns are not a gendered issue any more than drunk driving is a mother’s issue.  Violence in our society affects everyone and the divisive tactics employed by groups like IANSA and the Coalition for Gun Control do little to help anyone.

Guns are not the problem in our society, nor are they the solution.  Until the real problems are addressed, weapons – including guns – will always have a place in our world. 

Sources

WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 1
WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 3

A Ray of Truth About Domestic Violence


When I created this blog, I had no desire to turn it into the Elizabeth Mandelman show.  But since she continues to post half-truths and outright lies and I’ve been banned from commenting on her blog, I’m left with little choice.

In one of my early posts on Ms Mandelman’s blog (now deleted), I made a comment about how victims choose to stay with their abusive partners.  Another reader took exception to that:

 Natasha says:

“…I find it very presumptuous to say that all Pat had to do was leave. How can you leave someone who is threatening your life with a gun? If she were to leave, how do you know her husband were not to follow her to wherever she was staying and harm not only her but also the people she loves? Also, it is important to note that her daughter must have been very young at the time. Thus, it was not solely her own well being for which she had to be concerned but additionally that of her child.”

I agree that once a relationship reaches that degree of violence and abuse, leaving is no easy task.  And children most definitely complicate the issue.   The point that people like Natasha and Ms Mandelman are missing is that abusive relationships don’t just “happen”.  People don’t just wake up one morning and say to themselves “I think I’m going to kick my spouse in the head today.”  These relationships evolve over time.  The incidents usually start out small and easy to rationalize with thoughts like “they didn’t really mean it”, or “it was an accident”.  But over time they gradually become worse and worse, because by staying, the victim is silently telling their partner that their behaviour is acceptable.  There are thousands of points along the way where the victim makes the choice to stay and accept the abuse. 

So I agree with Cindy Cowan when she says:

 “Spending money on ‘patching women up’ is not the solution to ending domestic violence.” 

Patching women up is quite literally, a Band-Aid solution.  Education programs in high schools, public awareness campaigns, treatment programs for abusers, an end to our “revolving door” justice system, these would be fantastic starting points to address the issue of domestic violence.  Increased restrictions on law-abiding citizens, on the other hand, would not.

The Firearms Act has done absolutely nothing to reduce the rates of domestic violence.  According to Statistics Canada, a weapon is used in only 7% of spousal assault cases, and it’s female abusers who reach for a weapon twice as often as men.  A firearm is used in spousal assault in a whopping 0.1% of cases, 0.08% of the time against women.  That’s about 35 women per year.  And there’s no indication as to how many of those women are threatened/harmed with a legally registered firearm.  At a cost of $100 million per year to maintain the incomplete and inaccurate long gun registry for only 35 victims (specific to their cause), it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how deeply flawed the positions of Ms Mandelman and IANSA are.

Additionally, the use of a firearm in cases of spousal homicide has been declining since the 1970s.  You’ll note from the graph below, that the rate of decline has actually slowed since the introduction of the Firearms Act in 1995.  I’ve asked this question before, and I’ll continue to ask it until the “other side” can give me an answer: What could a piece of legislation introduced in 1995 possibly have to do with a trend that started in 1974? 

   

In part of her interview with Cindy Cowan, Ms Mandelman made this video.  In it, Ms Cowan states:

 “…[it’s about societies] that say some people are worth less than, right, they have less value…”

I know exactly what she means.  I am a firearms owner after all.  According to the gun control lobby, my rights are less than the rights of abused women.  According to the gun control lobby, it’s perfectly acceptable to limit the rights of 2 million licensed firearms owners for the sake of 35 women.  I mean we’re only talking about the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, the right to be presumed innocent, and the right against unreasonable search and seizure, just to name a few.  It’s not like those rights are important or anything.  Those 2 million people are downright selfish for fighting to regain those rights when there are 35 women at risk who chose to stay in abusive relationships.  How insensitive of those brutish, Neanderthal gun owners.

I’ll leave the dripping sarcasm behind to finish with one last part of Ms Mandelman’s blog.

“When they do take the step to begin a new life, they must often do so with someone else’s used sheets and outgrown clothes.   How is this fair?  How is it, I wonder, that there are individuals that consider their privilege of owning a firearm more worthy than the right to safety and protection, afforded to all Canadian citizens by their government?”

Second-hand clothes and sleeping in a dorm are not exactly one of life’s great hardships.  Having done so for many years myself, I wouldn’t call it a hardship at all, but I realize that’s a highly subjective point.  If it concerns Ms Mandelman that much, maybe she should consider just how many new sheets and clothes $100 million per year could buy these shelters.

As to her claim that firearm ownership is only a privilege in Canada, well I now have the happy job of informing her that she’s incorrect.  I’ve recently been educated on that point myself.  The details can be found here about halfway down the page under the section titled Right to Bear Arms.

As Ms Mandelman correctly stated, in Canada we do have the right to security of the person.  This is the part where I get a little bit fuzzy about the gun control lobby’s stance.  They claim to be fighting their campaign in the name of public safety, or in this case for the reduction of domestic violence.  How then, do they justify taking away the very tool that a woman might use to protect herself?

62% of statistics are made up on the spot


The title of this entry may be a bit facetious, but there is an element of truth to it.  The written word is often taken as absolute gospel.  That’s because most people, understandably, can’t be bothered to verify the facts themselves.  It’s for this reason that I cite my references and sources whenever I quote anything, be it a statistic or a comment.  And when it comes to statistics, I try to use neutral sources, like Statistics Canada, wherever possible.  This way I get the true numbers before the spin has been added.

I was just re-reading Elizabeth Mandelman’s “An Interview with Wendy Cukier” and I found myself dumbfounded by the first sentence:

“In Canada, 85% of female homicide victims are murdered by their partners and in Ontario, possession or access to firearms is the fifth leading risk factor for femicide.”

Something about that number, 85%, just didn’t ring true to me, so I did some digging.  Lo and behold, it’s a complete fabrication.  The numbers for 2007, according to this document, state:

Total Homicides                                                  594

Female Victims                                                    162

Females killed by spouse                                       51

(legal and common law, past and current)

Killed by boyfriend/girlfriend/intimate                     16

(past and current)

The last number isn’t broken down into male and female victims, so for my purposes, I’m going to assume a worst-case scenario and say that all of the victims were female.  That gives us a grand total of 67 women who were killed by their current or previous spouse or partner (51+16=67).  So with 162 women killed in total for the year 2007 that works out to 41% of female homicide victims being murdered by their partners.  Not 85% as was so sensationally claimed in Ms Mandelman’s blog.

Is that still a horrendous figure? Absolutely.  But at least it’s the real figure and not a fabricated number designed to illicit an emotional response from the reader. 

According to the RCMP, there are about 2 million licensed firearms owners in Canada.  Most estimates place the actual number of firearms owners at around 5 million people.  That accounts for roughly 15% of the population of Canada. 

Call me crazy here, but if you’re heading a campaign to bring in new laws that will have an immediate and direct impact on 15% of the population, is it not too much to ask that you tell the truth?