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Women Do Not Need Guns to Protect Themselves From Rape

In an interview with Abigail Pesta of The Daily Beast, safety awareness expert, Paxton Quigley, advocates gun ownership for women as a means of preventing rape. In the aftermath of the tragic Aurora, Colorado shootings, the issue of gun control resurfaces once again as the nation debates whether or not firearms are effective safety measures.

When it comes to prevention of rape, the easy solution is to carry a gun, but that only works for the short-term. The most effective way to reduce instances of violent sexual crimes is to eradicate a culture in which rape is acceptable, even though it’s not the easiest method.

Even if women are armed and have proper training, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee safety. Quigley is believes that in order to prevent rape, women should not only own guns, but familiarize themselves with the weapon. She told The Daily Beast, “If you want to have a handgun, you have to be trained—I’m not just talking a course for an hour or two, but an all-day course at least.”

But how would Quigley respond to the 22,800 violent sexual crimes that took place in the military in 2011, despite the fact that the victims went through basic training? Rape breaks the bond of trust between two people, and that’s why it’s so scarring, even to highly trained military personnel. 

Interestingly enough, Quigley failed to cite a single case proving her theory that guns prevent rape. She also doesn’t believe products like Tasers, pepper spray, or knives provide enough security, even though they are more accessible to the public and are less stigmatized than handguns. She says Tasers are problematic because they require good aim on the first attempt before the device has to reload.

Quigley fails to realize that her arguments against self-defense products can also be used against guns. Just like non-lethal weapons, guns require aim in order to be effective. You have to know how to handle them, and, just like knives, Tasers, and pepper spray, they can be taken away from you just as easily.

“That’s a lot of women walking around who are targets. They’re talking on their cellphones or texting, totally unaware of what’s going on. It’s part of the reason why people get themselves into trouble.”

There are two things wrong with this statement. First, Quigley blames the victim for bringing about an act of sexual violence. At no time is it acceptable to point the finger at someone who experienced significant physical and psychological trauma in his or her life. This statement is not only misogynistic, but it also reinforces impunity by placing the blame on the victim. Second, the majority of documented rapists are known to the victim, either as an acquaintance, neighbor, relative, or friend. Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that “approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.” Quigley is fueling the fear that rapists jump out of the blue, and this simply isn’t supported by statistics. 

The topic of gun control becomes increasingly partisan whenever the public is reminded of atrocities. I think it’s worth noting that proponents of both sides of the argument come from completely different planets. People’s opinions on guns vary greatly; the conservatives either brand you as a “Utopian” for supporting strict gun laws, or the liberals classify you as a “paranoid maniac” for supporting lax ones.

The matter of guns in the United States goes beyond just incidents of terrorism, like we saw last week. We tend to forget that gun-related homicides occur almost everyday in disadvantaged communities, but they do not make national headlines. Banning guns will not deter Americans from buying them, and it will not reduce homicides, either.

Telling women to carry guns is the Band-Aid solution to America’s rape epidemic. Altering the mindset of the next generation to respect women is the only permanent way to reduce violent sexual acts.

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