(Washington, D.C.) – In July, 1988, a 41-year-old Jewish Women International member in Gaithersburg, Md., was gunned down by her estranged husband in the parking lot of her place of employment. This shocking murder gave the 100-year-old Jewish women’s organization a new mission—to protect all women and girls from violence.
Today, after more than two decades of organizational work on this important issue, JWI CEO and Executive Director Lori Weinstein watched as the Senate Judiciary committee held the first ever hearing on the intersection of gun violence and violence against women. Weinstein gave the following statement:
“We have known since 1988 the toxic connection of guns and domestic violence. Our friend and member was shot and killed by her husband just miles from our offices. It is horrifying that women in the U.S. are 11 times more likely to be killed by a gun than are women in other high-income countries.[i] It is unacceptable that from 2001 through 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in the U.S. by an intimate partner using a gun—more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.[ii]Enough is enough. How many more women need to fall at the hands of their intimate partners?
The statistics announced today did not shock me—I know the numbers. The heartbreaking stories of victims brought familiar tears to my eyes—I have heard similar for years. What will it take to convince our lawmakers? How many more children must watch their mothers be killed by their fathers? How many more parents must lose their daughters to boyfriends with guns? Tell me what story is sad enough to make the difference and I will tell it.
Yes, real solutions were proposed today. But the politics of this intractable Congress has created an environment where there isn’t a single Republican co-sponsor for this sensible legislation. This is not about taking guns away from lawful gun owners. And yet, election year politics will prevent common sense action from occurring which will result in more women dying.”
JWI has joined the newly created #ProtectAllWomen Leadership Network. Founded by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords and other women leaders, #ProtectAllWomen Leadership Network gathers a diverse group of gun violence prevention, domestic violence prevention and women’s advocacy organizations to educate state and federal leaders on the immediate need for remedies to the epidemic of violence against women.