Why I'm thinking of getting a gun


‘The recent spotlight on gender-based violence has seriously jolted me out of my complacency when it comes to my safety. This week, a newspaper ran a headline that 63 women have been murdered in 30 days in Gauteng.

I think we are entitled to be scared and I’m definitely scared to the point where I want to look for means to protect myself. 

There is no ‘safe space’ in Gauteng. Everyday we see stories of kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, sexual assaults, and murders. We’re deluded if we think living in a leafy suburb will protect us. Whether it’s running in your neighbourhood, driving at night, just going about your life – we’re vulnerable.

Becoming a recluse and locking yourself in your home doesn’t guarantee your safety either. 

So much of the harassment, assault and violence we face as women in South Africa have become normalised

So much of the harassment, assault and violence we face as women in South Africa have become normalised – whether catcalling, sexual harassment, or worse. I’ve been inappropriately touched, I’ve been followed by strangers, blocked into a parking lot because some man wanted to talk to me... I could go on, I feel like the list is endless. 

I think I’ve been overwhelmed by the frequency of the stories and the brutality of the violence.

I don’t really understand why Karabo’s death shook me so much. I think the fact that we’ve seen it unfold on the Twitter timeline – from the alerts about her being missing, to the day they discovered she had died and then all the reactions from her loved ones, and now the court appearances by her alleged murderer. 

Up to two months ago, I would’ve never considered it. At all!

Why a gun? The one thing that scares me about using a knife is how close you have to be to the attacker in order to protect yourself. In a hand-to-hand fight, I feel like I’ll probably come off second best.

That said, I’ve never handled a gun before. I’m scared of them, to be honest. Up to two months ago, I would’ve never considered it. At all! 

Firearm licenses are incredibly cheap, but I think that’s a good thing. Rather that it be cheap to get a license, and that you need a competency certificate and that it’s expensive to buy and own a gun. This means there’s less of a disincentive to get a gun without a license. I don’t know if that reasoning is correct, but that’s how I feel about it. 

I generally agree with the evidence that says that owning a gun may put yourself and your loved ones in greater danger than actually making you secure, but I’m prepared to do the research, gain the understanding, undergo the training, and take it from there.

I have no idea which gun I would get. I’m still in the research phase at the moment and haven’t set a deadline. My husband’s opinion is important to me since we share a home, but I haven’t told him and I don’t think he’d be keen to be honest.

He’s as much of an anti-gun person as I was. Or might find that I still am.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on W24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of W24.

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