As a woman, there are certain statistics that I’m proud to be a part of. For instance, in a little under six months, I will be proud to join the 57% of women who earn all bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. And yet, there are other statistics that I’m not proud of.
I’m not proud of the fact that according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. are raped at some point in their lives. As a woman, I think about this statistic every day. I think about it anytime I take public transportation. I think about it every time I go for a walk. I think about it in the sanctity of my own home. It’s a fear that I’ve learned to cope with over the years, and yet, I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to live my life in fear, and neither should thousands of other women.
Here’s the thing: rapists are predators. And do you know what predators do? They prey on those they perceive as being weak. We, as women, have the unique opportunity to change that perception once and for all through the use of firearms.
One of the biggest problems women face is the fact that society that likes to place blame on the victim instead of the perpetrator. It’s always the “woman’s fault” for wearing something too promiscuous or being somewhere she shouldn’t have been. As it stands now, the current narrative on rape goes something along the lines of this, “Ladies, don’t walk in dark alleyways by yourself; that’s how you’ll end up getting raped.” Guns afford us the opportunity to revise that narrative so that it goes a little something like this, “Men, don’t hang out in dark alleyways trying to rape women; that’s how you’ll end up getting shot.”
There’s a saying in the firearms industry, “God created man and woman, but Sam Colt made them equal.” This adage pays tribute to the man who founded one of today’s largest firearm manufacturers—Colt Manufacturing Company.
Let’s be real: I’m a petite woman. I stand at a mere 5’0”, 115 lbs. If my life is in danger and I’m stuck trying to physically defend myself against a full-sized man, I don’t stand a chance. For millions of women all over the world, this is a reality. What’s neat about firearms is that they allow me to defend myself against a threat that I normally wouldn’t be able to.
Now, to be fair, opponents might argue that rape doesn’t necessitate killing someone. After all, there’s a justice system for that, right? Well, let’s take a look at that ‘justice system.’
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) 98% of rapists won’t spend a day in jail or prison. In all transparency, that number includes the 68% of assaults that go unreported. But do you know why they go unreported? Because out of every 100 rapes, 32 get reported to police. And of those 32, 7 lead to an arrest. 3 are referred to prosecutors. 2 lead to a felony conviction. And only 2 rapists will spend a single day in prison.
As if that’s not bad enough, check this out: If a woman is forcibly impregnated and decides to keep the child, 31 states allow her rapist to sue for custody and visitation of that child.
Remember: 1 in 5. That’s how many women in the U.S. are likely to experience rape at some point in their lives. Compare that to the CDC’s 1 in 71 men who are likely to experience rape in their lives.
But rape statistics aren’t the only statistics we can improve. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, every nine seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten. Washington State self-defense laws allow the use of deadly force if the person believes that his/her life is in danger or that he/she will suffer great bodily harm unless lethal means are employed.
When it comes to my philosophy on self-defense, Malcolm X said it best, “It doesn’t mean that I advocate for violence, but at the same time, I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don’t call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence.”
In an ideal world, nobody would need to carry a gun; everyone would respect one another. In an ideal world, there would be no rape. There would be no violence. There would be no misogyny. But we don’t live in an ideal world now, do we? We live in a realistic world. And the cold, hard truth about reality is that there are cruel, heartless individuals who prey on unsuspecting women simply because they’re an “easy” target. This is the new age of feminism in which fear equals respect. It’s time that we stop relying on the men in our lives to protect us from the world’s great ills. We’ve come such a long way as women. We’ve already proven to society that we’re more than capable of providing for ourselves. Now we’re in the unfortunate position of proving that we can protect ourselves, too. But you know what?
We can do it.