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6. Don't we have to do something about violence against women?


This article is from the can.talk.guns FAQ, by Skeeter Abell-Smith ab133@sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca with numerous contributions by others.

6. Don't we have to do something about violence against women?

Bare hands and feet are most often used to murder Canadian women.
More women (44.0%) are strangled or beaten to death than are murdered by
any other single method. Knives and other sharp instruments are the
next favourite weapon as stabbings accounted for 27.7% of female
homicides. Firearms are third: 25.6% of Canadian women were murdered by
someone using a gun. [StatCan, 1984 to 1993] In 1994, 45.7% of female
homicide victims were strangled or beaten to death, 22.6% were stabbed,
and 19.6% were shot. [StatCan]

We also have to do something about violence against people. Men are
more than twice as likely to be murdered (with or without a firearm),
nearly 10 times more likely to complete suicide with a firearm and over
15 times more likely to die in an accident involving a firearm. (But I

"Crimes of passion" are almost always preceded by a long history of
domestic turmoil (in 1991, 44% of all domestic murders in Canada had a
previous record of violent conflict), committed between the hours of
10:00pm and 2:00 a.m. with any object close at hand and by persons under
the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 1991, 60% of all domestic
homicides in Canada involved weapons other than firearms, with alcohol
and drug abuse a relevant factor in 64%[23]. Between 1974 and 1987, the
use of firearms in domestic homicide fluctuated with Bill C-51 having
had no apparent effect[24]. Studies on firearms acquisition 'waiting
periods' have found them to be totally useless in curbing either violent
crime or domestic violence[25].

What follows is an excerpt from a speech made by Senator Anne Cools on
29 Nov 1995. (The complete version of the following can be found from
the Canadian Firearms Home Page and from:

During the Senate committee hearings on Bill C-68, the Manitoba
Attorney General, the Honourable Rosemary Vodrey, testified. I asked

I should just like to know how many wives were killed by husbands in
your province last year by firearms, and how many children in your
province alone?

She replied:

I can just tell you women on homicides by firearms. I gather the
figure is zero.

Ms Vodrey gave more detail. She said:

The statistics I have are for 1994, and they relate to deaths due to
domestic violence: Three by stabbing; three by strangulation; two by
beating; one by asphyxiation; none by firearms.

Honourable senators, it is no simple task to identify the actual and
precise number of women killed by spouses using firearms. I have
studied this question using Statistics Canada's published data on
homicides. In 1994, the actual number of women killed with firearms
by conjugal intimates was 23. I repeat: The precise number of women
killed by spouses using firearms was 23.

Statistics Canada defines "conjugal intimates" as including spouses
- legal, common-law, separated, divorced - boyfriends, extramarital
lovers or estranged lovers. Neither feminist groups nor the Minister
of Justice have placed the number of 23 on the table in this debate.
I am unsympathetic to the act of toying with or exaggerating the
true numbers.

Please be clear that Minister Vodrey's answer that no woman in her
province had been killed by the use of a firearm in a
conjugal-intimate relationship in 1994 surprised the committee.

In 1994, the actual number of children under the age of 12 years
killed with firearms by a parent was two. The favoured weapon of
murder in Canada is bare hands and feet - the human body. For
example, in 1994, 27 babies under 12 months of age were killed, most
with bare hands. In 1994, the total number of homicides was 596, of
which 196 were by the use of firearms. Of these 196 with firearms,
157 of the victims were men and 39 were women. Consistently, more
men are killed with firearms than women; in fact, four times as
many. The tragedy of domestic homicide is too horrific to be
trivialized by numerical manipulation.

Here's a breakdown of causes of death for men and women [1994]:

  14757287  14494078 29251285 Population
    women     men     total   Cause of Death
    38688    39885    78573   Circulatory system diseases
    26815    31496    58311   All Cancer
     8255    10087    18342   Respiratory system diseases
     3767     3912     7679   Digestive system diseases
     4995                     Breast Cancer
     2710     1963     4673   Mental disorders
      780     2969     3749   Suicide, all methods
      985     2478     3463   Drug/Alcohol Abuse [note 1]
      949     2238     3188   Motor vehicle collisions
      721     2053     2774   Suicide, non-firearm
     1292     1055     2347   Falls
      139     1489     1628   HIV
       59      916      975   Suicide, with firearm
      235      629      868   Accidental poisoning
      222      507      729   Drowning/suffocation/choking
      199      396      596   Homicide, all methods
      160      239      400   Homicide, non-firearm
      115      130      246   Homicide, no gun; no knife
      102      110      212   Surgical/medical misadventures
       39      157      196   Homicide, with firearm
       45      109      154   Homicide, with cutting/piercing instrument
        3       35       38   Fatal Gun Accidents
      101     1108     1209   Total deaths involving firearms

[Causes of Death 1994 (Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology,
Statistics Canada, Health Statistics Division, June 1996); and, Homicide
Survey, Table 13; Distribution of Homicide Victims by Gender and Method
Used to Commit Homicide (Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology,
Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Aug. 1994)]

[note 1 - This figure excludes deaths from cancer, circulatory/
respiratory diseases, motor vehicle collisions, falls, fires, drowning,
suicide and homicide that are indirectly due to drug/alcohol abuse.
In 1994, an esimated 17,228 deaths, one every 32 min., were alcohol-
related (Single, Eric. Canadian Profile: Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
1994. Ottawa ON; Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, 1994, p.79)]

[23] Juristat Service Bulletin, Vol.12 No. 18, op. cit. pp 13-14;
and, Peter H. Rossi and James D. Wright, op. cit.
[24] Juristat Service Bulletin, Vol. 9 No. 1, (Statistics Canada,
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 1989); and
Robert J. Mundt, op. cit.
[25] James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi, op. cit., and Joseph
P. Magadino and Marshal H. Medoff, op. cit.


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