Below is a short discussion inspired by Episode #2, "How Gun Violence Affects Women", on the Red Table Talk podcast.
Gun violence has been widespread in the U.S. for years with no clear solution. Often, we talk about how it affects those who get shot. Other times, we talk about how it affects Black communities and other minorities. Rarely do we talk about how it affects the women in those communities.
The all female panel on Red Table Talks gathered to discuss gun violence and how it is a shared experience for many women. Being a victim of gun violence comes in many shapes and forms, some of which are not as obvious as others.
Here are just two ways in which women are affected by gun violence:
- Each fatal shot has ripple effects on women. For instance, a woman may suffer the loss of a partner to gun violence. This affects her entire life – not only will she have to bear this loss, she will also have to learn to raise a family on her own.
- Women themselves experience gun violence firsthand. Sometimes, they happen in random acts of violence, such as in gang initiations. Other times, the violence is from someone they know, as in the case with domestic violence.
So, how do we save ourselves from gun violence? Change the culture of how we relate to each other. Be kinder and more open-minded. Replace the ripple effect of fatal wounds with ripple effects of kindness. This is how we save lives.
the distilld lessons
Here are the distilld lessons from Episode #2, "How Gun Violence Affects Women", on the Red Table Talk podcast.
Jada Pinkett Smith, along with countless other women, have all been affected by gun violence in one way or another. Here’s what they have to say about it on Red Table Talk.
The issue of gun violence is a complex and long-standing issue. One dimension of it that’s rarely discussed: how gun violence affects women.
Gun violence affects women in different ways. Sometimes, it's through the death of a friend, or the death or a partner. It's deeply traumatizing, even without experiencing the violence firsthand.
If you have been traumatized by gun violence, find support systems to help you through your healing journey. Don’t shut them out – you need them. Let them be with you.
Some victims of gun violence are simply at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Random acts of gun violence exist, such as in gang initiations.
The unfortunate reality is that there is no predicting where gun violence can happen. There's no knowing how quickly your life can change.
If you are a victim of gun violence, the road to recovery may be slow and difficult. But take solace that other women have navigated similar difficulties too. There’s a road through it.
Recovery is incremental, but not impossible. Take it one day at a time – one second, one minute, one hour, one day.
Another unfortunate reality is that gun violence can also happen at home.
A word of advice for women in abusive relationships – listen to your gut. Your intuition is telling you something that your emotional mind can’t yet rationalize. Listen to it.
Remember, you're not alone. There are people who are fighting to end gun violence.
There are organizations you can reach out to, such as Life Camp, Inc. They are working to help everyone who's been affected by gun violence.
How do we end gun violence? We've got to change the culture and shine a light on the issue. We have to change the way we relate to each other.
We can't wait for the world to change. We need to be that change ourselves.
- Have a support system. Surround yourself with family, friends, or a group of people with whom you share a common experience. Let them help you heal.
- Acknowledge your pain. Give yourself space. Allow yourself to grieve. Change your perspective. Pain is not a sign of weakness. This is part of the process for you to heal.
- Take things one step at a time. Healing is a long road. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a while to get there.
- Be aware of your own words. To change the culture of gun violence, we must first change how we relate to each other.
- Keep talking about the victims of gun violence. This is how you raise awareness: commemorate their deaths, but more importantly, commemorate their lives.
- Listen to your gut feeling. When you’re in an abusive relationship, know your boundaries and your self-worth. Leave when your instincts tell you to do so.
For a more in depth conversation, the distilld lessons (extended) are here.