This August, Gun Free South Africa, Black Girl Fat Girl Magazine, Sonke Gender Justice and the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation collaborated on a Women’s month campaign. The aim is to raise awareness about gender-based violence in our country, and the alarmingly high statistics of gun-related violence committed against women in their own homes.
The campaign uses a box of tampons – “Bul-lets” – to illustrate a point. Tampons have often been used in war zones, on the battlefield, to stem the flow of blood from gunshot wounds because of their highly absorbent nature. But for many women, the battlefield is found in our own homes.
The Medical Research Council of South Africa found that a legal gun is used in 75% of cases in which a woman is shot and killed, and in 60% of cases this shooting occurs in her home.
Gender-based violence is a very real and personal issue to all South African women – we have all experienced harassment and intimidation on the streets, in our places of work, where we go out and, unfortunately, often in our own homes.
When a gun is added to the equation, everything gets a lot more dangerous. It is easy to feel helpless in these situations, but there are steps that you can take in order to have a gun legally removed from your home if you feel threatened by its presence.
Under the Firearms Control Act, it is a right for any woman who lives in fear of violence in her home to ask the police to remove the gun immediately. Furthermore, obtaining a protection order under the Domestic Violence Act allows the courts to remove guns and other dangerous weapons in domestic violence situations.
There are 5 steps to removing a gun from your home:
This women’s month and every month let us empower women by spreading information that may help, in the long run, to save a life.
Written by Alexia Roussos @lexxiroussos
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Graphics provided by Gun Free SA