Weapons in the Lives of Battered Women

Sorenson, S. B., & Wiebe, D. J. (2004). Weapons in the lives of battered womenAmerican Journal of Public Health94(8), 1412-1417.


Objectives: We assessed weapon use in intimate partner violence and perspectives on hypothetical firearm policies.

Methods: We conducted structured in-person interviews with 417 women in 67 battered women’s shelters.

Results: Words, hands/fists, and feet were the most common weapons used against and by battered women. About one third of the battered women had a firearm in the home. In two thirds of these households, the intimate partner used the gun(s) against the woman, usually threatening to shoot/kill her (71.4%) or to shoot at her (5.1%). Most battered women thought spousal notification/consultation regarding gun purchase would be useful and that a personalized firearm (“smart gun”) in the home would make things worse.

Conclusions: A wide range of objects are used as weapons against intimate partners. Firearms, especially handguns, are more common in the homes of battered women than in households in the general population.