“Beyond Measure: Gun Violence Trauma” Released As Nearly 30 Survivors of Gun Violence Are On Capitol Hill Sharing Their Stories with Members of Congress and Advocating for Change
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has released a first-of-its-kind report, “Beyond Measure: Gun Violence Trauma”, which outlines the varying and enduring forms of trauma from gun violence on survivors. Everytown’s research team conducted focus groups with more than 100 survivors of gun violence to create a robust report focusing on survivors’ experiences of gun violence, the short- and long-term impacts of trauma, the ripple effects of trauma that families and communities experience, access to support services, and post-traumatic growth among survivors following their experiences with gun violence. Survivors who participated in the focus groups had diverse identities, many that have not been researched extensively, including bereaved parents, students over the age of 18, Latinx and Black communities, and LGBTQ+ people. This is one of the first national studies of this magnitude that has explored trauma in such depth among gun violence survivors.
The release of “Beyond Measure: Gun Violence Trauma” arrives as nearly 30 survivors of gun violence from across the country are in Washington, D.C., in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, to meet with their members of Congress and advocate for change. These survivors are part of the Survivor Fellowship Program with the Everytown Survivor Network, a nationwide community of survivors working together to end gun violence. The survivors on Capitol Hill today — in addition to advocating for a suite of common sense gun safety laws — will be sharing their personal stories with their lawmakers so that congressional offices can learn more about the specific and varying impacts of gun violence on survivors and their needs in the aftermath.
“‘Beyond Measure: Gun Violence Trauma’ illuminates the countless ways gun violence can profoundly change the lives of people who experience it, witness it, and are threatened by it,” said Abigail Hurst, Director of Trauma-Informed Programs at Everytown for Gun Safety. “As survivors take to Capitol Hill today, it’s crucial for lawmakers and the entire country to recognize the reverberations of trauma, be intentional in their understanding, and honor the persistence and purpose of those survivors who are fighting to prevent the trauma from gun violence from occurring in the first place.”
Key findings from the report include:
- Trauma from gun violence is experienced as a collective trauma, and goes beyond communities in the same geographic environment. It ripples throughout the nation to people with shared identities like race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity as well as people with similar experiences with gun violence;
- The reverberations of trauma from gun violence are now felt across generations and shape the behaviors and experiences of children, families and entire communities;
- Communities where gun violence is an ongoing and consistent occurrence struggle to cope within the ripple effects of trauma. Historical traumas based on racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are compounded by the added trauma from gun violence;
- After an incident of gun violence, one in three survivors live in fear and feel unsafe. As exposure to gun violence erodes a survivor’s sense of safety, and ultimately how they navigate their environments, heightened trauma responses include: hypervigilance, numbness, paranoia, anxiety and depression;
- About half of the survivors experienced post-traumatic growth, or positive changes in their lives after experiencing gun violence. Many survivors pointed to their advocacy and participation with the Everytown Survivor Network, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action as part of their post-traumatic growth journey; and
- Nearly one in two survivors said they needed support, services, or assistance to cope with the impact of gun violence within the first six months or more after the incident of gun violence.
The full report is available here. To speak with an expert or survivor of gun violence, please do not hesitate to reach out.