by Liv Tørres

"“We all have family members who were killed or injured by small arms.” Scanning a conference room in Berlin earlier this year filled with members of a new network of women organizing for small arms control, a Balkan woman solemnly counted the number of participants’ family members who had stared down the barrel of a gun or were killed. So, if you’re wondering what women have to do with small arms control, the answer is evident: everything.

Every year, more people in non-conflict zones are killed as a result of injuries from small arms than in wars or other conflicts. The majority of those killed are men, most often by other men. From each act of small arms violence, numerous others are physically hurt, threatened and/or traumatized. Many of the victims of this violence are women. Too often, they are threatened, violated, and attacked by men who wield small arms. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this situation has worsened, with firearms sales skyrocketing in many parts of the world. As a result of the health and resultant socioeconomic crisis faced around the world, domestic violence has increased at an alarming rate. And with instability and polarization on the rise, things will get worse. So yes, the mobilization of women is definitely relevant for small arms control."

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