2 UNDP - October 2007
In 1998, Solomon Mhlongo emptied a magazine o bullets into his common-law wie Elizabeth and ve-yearold daughter Tlaleng. He stopped to reload and then continued ring until the gun jammed. Elizabeth waslet sprawling next to the bed, her chest, head, thigh and hand peppered with bullets, while their daughterlay slumped sideways in a blood-spattered chair. Solomon Mhlongo, a Soweto, Johannesburg resident was aregistered gun owner.
This is just one example o the gendered nature o armed violence – demonstratingthat men, women, boys and girls, respond to and are aected by armed violence in dierent ways. The tragicstory o the Mhlongo’s ts the emerging prole o gender and armed violence in Arica: men are the mainperpetrators o armed violence and women are particularly vulnerable in private spaces, where rearmsare oten used to intimidate, control, hurt and kill intimate emale partners.
Similarly, while women havetraditionally been excluded rom discussions o peace and security, it is now widely recognised that women’sexperience o war – whether as soldiers or civilians – is also dierent to those o men.Understanding the dierentiated gender impacts o armed violence – whether in the home, during armedconict or in immediate post war contexts – is necessary or developing appropriate and gender-sensitiveinterventions and programmes. For example, working with ‘both men and women in order to reduce risksand bolster resilience to insecurity and violence’
is one o the best means to avert increases in violence andpost-war armed criminality.This paper will ocus specically on the nature and extent o armed violence, including sexual violence,against women, both during and ater armed conict as well as within the amily domain, thereby illustratingthe linkages between the various orms o gender violence. Studies both in Arica and elsewhere show thatit is not always possible (nor desirable) to separate women’s experience o armed violence rom other ormso violence, such as physical assault and sexual abuse – both in times o armed conict and in the home. Thepaper will also briey describe some o the interventions aimed at addressing this issue, ranging rom UNresolutions to local community based programmes.
Men as victims and perpetrators
Across cultures, most acts o violence, including frearm-related violence, are overwhelmingly perpetrated by men and boys and most victims o
frearm-related violence are also men and boys.
Globally, data rom situations o war and peace show that over 90 percent o frearm-related homicides occur among men.
Most frearms are owned by males–whether in state structures such as the police or military, as part o non-state armed groups, gangs and
militias, or leisure or sporting activities such as hunting, or or sel-deence in the home.In countries at ‘peace’ where guns are widely available, they are used mostly by men, to commit various types o violence, such as murder,
suicide, robbery and assault, and in gang warare.The National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS) shows that in South Arica
:Majority o frearm homicide victims are men.
Between 80 to 87 percent o all victims are men, and 13 to 20 percent women.
For every emale death where a frearm is used, between 7 and 8.5 male deaths are reported.
The majority o women killed are known to their assailants, while men may equally be killed by strangers.
A similar pattern emerges across Arica, with males being our to ten times more likely than emales to be murdered.
In countries emerging rom war and those with high levels o urban armed violence, ‘young men may use guns as part o a rite o passage romboyhood into manhood.’
In addition positive associations between guns and manhood can occur in wars o liberation where their use is valuedand encouraged, as seen in the symbolic value o the AK-47 in liberation wars across the continent.
1 Written by: Adèle Kirsten, Independent Researcher, South Arica. This paper draws primarily on three sources: WHO Report onViolence and Health in Arica (to be published in early 2008); Missing Pieces: Directions or reducing Gun Violence Through the UNprocess on Small Arms Control. Geneva: Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue 2005; The impact o armed violence on poverty and de-velopment. Bradord University, UK 2005. Editorial support: Rob Muggah, Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development;Paul Eavis, UNDP.2 Email exchange with Lisa Vetten o Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to End Violence Against Women, Johannesburg, March 20073 Gun Control Alliance Brieng: 54. 2006
. Guns in the home and intimate partner violence
. Johannesburg, South Arica4 Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue, 2005. p: 67.5 Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue, 2006. RevCon Policy Brie: “
Hitting the Target. Men and Guns
.”6 A prole o atal injuries in South Arica, NIMSS. 2003; NIMSS. 2004.7 Mathews, S et al. 2004. ‘’Every six hours a woman is killed by her intimate partner’: A National Study o Female homicide in SouthArica.’ Johannesburg: Medical Research Council Policy Brie, pp. 1-4,8 Murray and Lopez (1996) reported a global male: emale homicide ratio o 6:2 the mid-1990s in Outwater A et al. Homicide in Dar esSalaam Region, Tanzania, 2005. (Submitted AJPH)9 Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue. 2005