A campaign called Operation LIPSTICK out of Dorchester, MA is calling attention to women's role in illegal gun trade and putting the onus on females to help lessen gun crimes. While most gun crimes are committed by men, women play a large part by purchasing and concealing guns for criminals who can't acquire their own.
LIPSTICK, which is an acronym for "Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killings," was founded in 2012 by Nancy Robinson. Robinson says that theirs is the first group to identify the connection between women's role in gun trafficking and domestic violence. A lot of the women who attend meetings for Operation LIPSTICK have been coerced by their partners to conceal crime guns with the promise of money, drugs, or even diapers for their children.
"These women can start to connect the dots and understand that there are consequences to providing these guns. They go to jail. Their neighborhoods are unsafe. People are traumatized and devastated. There are funerals every weekend," Robinson told WBUR.
Ruth Rollins, who leads workshops for LIPSTICK and works in a safe house for domestic violence in Roxbury, MA said that wants police and social service workers to recognize this reality so that women have more resources if they find themselves involved in illegal gun trade.
“Right now if I got caught, used the guns, it’s you know, ‘I know it’s your man’s, if you want to flip on him we’ll get a deal.’ But what about having services in place? I’m not saying you don’t get accountable for it. But the same services they set up for women that are fleeing or are in abusive relationships. It’s the same as domestic violence,” she said. Operation LIPSTICK's mission is as follows:
-To provide counseling and education for at-risk women and girls
-To reduce the number of women willing to buy guns for people who can't get them legally
-To train women as spokespeople and leaders
The Women's Media Center tweeted that the "Cutesy acronym" LIPSTICK, "belies deep commitment to a hard job," which may be true; it's a hard and important job indeed. 2,500 people have pledged not to hide or buy guns for someone else via Operation LIPSTICK and Citizens for Safety. Will you?
Thanks to WBUR and Citizens for Safety
Image via TIME