DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & GUNS: A LETHAL COMBINATION
Monday, September 23
4:00 – 5:45 p.m.
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(lower level, east side at back)
7039 Mission Road
For generations, domestic violence was a subject few people wanted to talk about – least of all its victims. Shame, fear of losing children, where to turn and hopelessness all played a significant part in keeping domestic violence a secret. As recently as the 1990s, there were three times as many shelters for abused pets as there were shelters for abused partners.
Those attitudes have changed significantly and for the 30th year in a row, October has been designated National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Though there is more attention to the subject, a frightening new element has been added to the toxicity of domestic violence: perpetrators’ easy access to guns. According to the New York Times, in the U.S., at least 50 women a month are shot and killed by their partners. Legislators at the state and national levels have wrestled with how to protect women from their violent abusers, especially those armed with guns.
Officials in Johnson County, KS, have experienced success at that. In 2011, Megan Ahsens, an assistant district attorney working exclusively on domestic violence cases, and her colleagues in social services, created a Lethality Assessment that law enforcement agencies throughout the county now use to evaluate the risk of a domestic violence disturbance escalating into a homicide.
Join us at our meeting September 23rd to hear Megan and Olathe police officer Matt Campbell discuss how successful the 17-question Lethality Assessment has been in fostering a life-saving partnership among victims, law enforcement, the courts and local shelters to diffuse domestic violence and steer its victims to healthier, better lives.
We have noted there are quite a few dictionary definitions of the word Advocacy. They include:
Dictionary.com: the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending
Your Dictionary: the act of speaking on the behalf of or in support of another person, place, or thing
Wikipedia: an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions
Vocbulary.com: When you give your active support to an idea or cause, you are showing your advocacy for that cause
You get the point: there are variations on the definition – and there are also variations on the way we can advocate. In our very own GAGV group we have people who advocate in many different ways such as talking to friends, sharing our Fact Sheet with others, sharing our Facebook posts on their own page, attending community marches and demonstrations, writing their legislators, working as a Lock It For Love volunteer, baking cookies and bringing donations for the various groups we support throughout year, and, of course, attending our monthly meetings. We are proud of the many advocacy actions our members take to bring our tag line Educate Advocate Participate to life in so many ways.
One of the many ways we advocate for gun safety: GAGV members sporting their orange GAGV shirts at the Sharice Davids’ Roundtable on Gun Safety August 24.