Domestic Violence and Gun Ownership
“The court found that the U.S. Constitution guarantees Zackey Rahimi the right to possess a firearm, even after a court found him to be a credible threat to his ex-girlfriend. [According to] Bruen v. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, an extreme decision that the Supreme Court issued last year … the government can only limit access to firearms in ways that are rooted in a ‘historical tradition.’ … This new standard required it to strike down any limitations on gun rights unless officials can point to strictly parallel laws enacted in the era of the nation’s founding. Never mind that most states recognized a husband’s right to beat his wife until the late 1800s.”
Addressing Law Enforcement Response
“Nearly 60 percent of people in women’s prisons nationwide — and as many as 94 percent of some women’s prison populations — have a history of physical or sexual abuse prior to incarceration. For some of them, early victimization was a catalyst for behaviors that got them entangled in the corrections system as young people; for others, the crimes that they were serving time for were directly linked to an abusive relationship, coercion, and threats of violence.”
National Domestic Violence Hotline Survey: Victim Experiences with Law Enforcement Report (2022): A survey assessed experiences with members of law enforcement of survivors impacted by intimate partner violence or sexual assault. “Of those who did call the police, more than twice the number (39 percent) actually felt less safe after calling, compared to 20 percent who felt safer; 77 percent of those who called the police were afraid to call them again.”
Saint Paul-based Battered Women’s Justice Project analyzed ten years of arrest data that revealed that repeat intimate partner violence (IPV) offenders had a lengthy criminal history beyond IPV. This was similar to the Stearns County, Minnesota, investigation of their jail populations.
National Defense Center for Criminalized Survivors was founded in 1987 in response to the police, communities, and court systems that were failing to protect survivors of gender-based violence.
There were two primary threads in our discussions with 24 advocates. Many people brought up the concept of ‘hurt people hurt people,’ and that arrest and incarceration does very little to reduce violent crime if the reasons for it are not addressed — which includes trauma. The other common note was that lack of affordable and safe housing is a major issue for victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence.
At our March 25 event, we will be talking about legislation that could help more victims of gender-based violence get treatment instead of jail time.
We also will talk about how some areas are attempting to offer supportive housing — and why that is so necessary for addressing gender-based violence. Here is one video shared with us from a reader that reveals how housing was addressed in Saint Louis Park; not in this report specifically was how “noise” complaints from neighbors were leading to evictions of people impacted by domestic violence, even if no charge was filed. A 2020 city ordinance has made some changes in local policy.
- Sex buyers are predominantly middle-aged, white, married men from across the whole state of Minnesota, which is representative of Minnesota’s general population.
- Sex buyers typically do not purchase sex in their hometowns—a finding particularly prevalent in small towns and rural areas. Instead, most buyers travel between 30 and 60 miles to purchase sex, with traveling often done during the work commute or over the lunch hour.
The Cycle That Incarcerates Trauma and Poverty
Women’s Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023 offers insights about the backgrounds and experiences of women in state prisons.
- Significant numbers of women in prison have been traumatized as children: 12 percent report homelessness before they turned 18; 19 percent were in foster care at some point; and 43 percent came from families that received welfare or other public assistance.
- Most women in prison have physical/cognitive disabilities (50 percent) and/or mental illnesses (76 percent).
- 58 percent of women in state prisons are parents to minor children, and of those, most are single mothers who were living with their children prior to imprisonment.
See the report from Prison Policy
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives issue (April 2021)
Vulnerability & Strength issue (October 2021)
Healing Trauma issue (February 2019)