Men and women experience gun violence in different ways. Men and boys constitute the majority of perpetrators and victims around the world – in high-income and low-income countries, whether at war, at peace or in transition.
- On average, men account for 82% of homicide victims – a proportion ranging from 73% in Europe to 90% in the Americas.
- 88% of gun suicide victims are male.
- In the USA, boys comprise 80% of the 400 children killed and 3000 injured in accidental shootings each year.
The use of guns by men and boys is often conditioned by cultural and social factors, particularly the idea that ‘real men’ can or should use violence as a means of resolving disputes and overcoming obstacles. Women and girls also fall prey to armed violence. In addition they experience particular types of gun violence, and suffer gender-specific consequences:
- There is a direct correlation between national femicide (murder of women) rates and the use of firearms. Specifically, countries affected by high levels of femicide exhibit a higher proportion of femicides committed with firearms. On average, firearms were used in one-third of all femicides worldwide; in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, however, firearms were used in more than 60 per cent of femicide (the deliberate killing of women).
- The chance of a woman dying in a household where there is partner and family violence increases with the presence of a gun.
- In a crisis situation, injured women and girls are often cast aside in order to concentrate the family’s economic and physical resources on survival of male family members.
- Caregiving responsibilities for those injured fall largely on women and girls, limiting their opportunities to work or go to school, and often causing their own health to deteriorate (see also the ‘Injury and rehabilitation’ page).