With his new book, President Jimmy Carter has issued a "call to action" on global, pervasive inequality and violence against women, calling violence against women the "most pervasive human rights violation in the world." And yes, I'd have to agree violence that is inflicted on a group that composes more than half of the world's population is pervasive to say the least.
President Carter's new book, A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power discusses the ways women are subjugated throughout the world. Though the data taken all together is both overwhelming and saddening, it's not difficult to believe. It's not one nation or ethnic group, one religion or region that is solely responsible for violence against women. While the subjugation of women looks different everywhere -- and even within places and groups -- it cuts across time and place and for many women it is not getting better.
Addressing issues of gender-based violence cannot be a one-sided fight. In order to make any sort of progress, it is critical to include men in forming solutions. It's amazing to have President Carter fighting on the side of women, using his voice and platform to bring greater attention to such an entrenched issue.
Which is all the more reason I was shocked to find out that Georgia's newest gun legislation -- legislation Gabrielle Giffords has called "The most extreme gun bill in America -- is supported by President Carter's grandson Jason, who is running for governor of the state. The bill would allow guns to be carried in churches, schools, courthouses, airports, bars -- pretty much everywhere.
The bill is far from popular, according to the New York Times:
The bill was opposed not only by gun-control groups, but also by the state's police chiefs association and restaurant association, Episcopal and Catholic churches, and the federal Transportation Security Administration. A majority of Georgians also opposed it, according to several polls.
Regardless of the opposition, lawmakers who voted for the bill have not experienced negative backlash or electoral consequences for their votes, including Jason Carter.
I would like Carter the elder, whose passion for righting the wrongs done to women is so very clear and true to sit down with his grandson and explain why this Georgia bill is a huge danger to women. Gun violence disproportionately affects women and children. Any bill that makes it easier for people to get guns and to bring them anywhere they want is a bill that will put women in danger.
According to Futures Without Violence, "access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times than in instances where there are no weapons" and "in 2010, 52 percent of female homicide victims killed by men were shot and killed with a gun." And according to Demand Action, women in the US are eleven times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries.
I know President Carter understands the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them, and out of public spaces where we all deserve the right to feel safe and secure. I hope that he can have a frank conversation with his grandson about the potential impact of such extreme and sweeping legislation that will undoubtedly put innocent lives at risk without making us any safer or more free.