Living Among Guns – A Testimony Archive

Israel’s civil sphere is saturated with hundreds of thousands of small arms. Here, as elsewhere in the world, women are a small minority among firearms holders. However, women here are routinely exposed to firearms on streets, buses and trains, public spaces and in families and homes. In many cases women are threatened by these arms and some of these cases they sustain direct or indirect damages due to these guns’ abuse.

This archive presents a range of voices that are silenced and very rarely heard in Israel, describing some of the damages inflicted upon people who live among firearms, upon their families and communities, and how these effect their lives. Most of the testimonies are voiced by women who, as a rule, are seen as unqualified to discuss “security matters” and firearms in particular. Some are voiced by men. While many of the testimonies focus on dangers and damages, others expose a reality in which the constant presence of is thoroughly normalized and, in some cases, viewed as positive.

Why build this archive?

First and foremost, this archive aims to offer local women who are living uneasily with the firearms around them a unique space for relating their experiences, dilemmas and range of personal encounters with guns. It sets out counteract the loneliness of fear or anger in face of the proliferation of guns, to nurture an understanding that no woman is alone in feeling troubled by their presence, while inviting women to engage with GFKT and take part in a struggle to reduce this threat.

In addition, the archive aims to advance the following goals:

* This may seem like an overly presumptuous or downright unachievable goal. However, when GFKT advocacy led to the enforcement of a law that removed tens of thousands of firearms from homes that formerly harbored them on a daily basis, killings with the off-duty guns of private security companies stopped altogether for a few years, after 11 years straight in which an average of 3 victims a year were killed with these guns. To our dismay, the law was later amended and these killings resumed.

Coordinating work with Palestinian organizations

The archive was framed from the outset as a closely coordinated complement to an analogous body of work created by feminist Palestinian organizations in Israel. Coordination began at the very first stages of planning, which was shared with the organizations Women Against Violence and Altufula. The joint project initiated by these two groups comprised a series of meetings and interviews with Palestinian women from areas exposed to especially high levels of gun violence, planned to collect responses and testimonies from these women. The process led to the production of a series of short videos reflecting some of the insights arising from the discussion groups and sounding messages that had not been voiced yet, at all or by women, in Palestinian society in Israel. The women themselves did not appear in the videos as this could have placed them at risk. The videos were aired in an online campaign addressing Palestinian citizens of Israel, raising consciousness to the dangers and damages involved in firearm proliferation and encouraging communities to organize and take responsibility in order to rid the homes and streets of guns.

The coordinated process aims to enable the organizations from each community to tailor strategies and methods to the different realities, problems and needs of their respective communities, while sharing actions when relevant, echoing each others’ messaging and sharing knowledge across the distinct programs

Personal Testimony – Firearms in Your Life

The form allows you to upload a testimony, either anonymously or with your contact details. Either way, we won’t publish your contact details. If you submit the testimony anonymously, we won’t know or have them either

The testimonies concern all firearms in civil space and private and family sphere

We reserve the right not to publish specific testimonies, due to considerations of relevance and off-topic content

Testimonies will be published after minimal editing, designed among other things to protect the source's privacy.

- - The Testimony Archive is under construction - -

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