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After getting closer, the officer realized Hrubes was not involved in the incident and left, Osoro said. She said he apologized and DJ hugged him and said it was OK.

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Hrubes, who is from Montana, said she was visiting her mother in the town where she grew up: West Bountiful, a suburb of Salt Lake City. She said the incident changes how she feels in Utah, a state where African Americans account for just 1. Census figures. I do not feel that he is safe.

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  • Mother says Utah officer pulled gun on her black son.

He has not left my sight. Mother says Utah officer pulled gun on her black son.

hold a gun to someone's head

Hrubes is calling for an independent investigation after she says a police officer pointed a gun at her year-old son's head in what she calls a racially motivated incident. Sorenson, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, is now shedding light on t he psychological impact of gun use in abusive relationships. Working with the police department in Philadelphia, Sorenson examined 35, domestic violence incidents that occurred in the city in , the most recent year in which complete data was available.

She studied the role of guns in domestic incidents, and looked at what effect they had on victims. In the incidents during which an external physical weapon was used, one-third involved guns. When a gun was present, it was rarely fired, Sorenson said. More commonly, 69 percent of the time, it was used to threaten or coerce the intimate partner, much like Beverly described her husband doing to her.

hold a gun to (one's) head

Though victims who had a gun used against them were less likely to have visible injuries compared to victims who reported the use of other weapons, like knives or bats, she said, they were far more likely to experience high levels of fear. Experiencing trauma of this kind can make a person more susceptible to medical illnesses, Ford said, as well as a wide range of emotional and behavioral difficulties including depression, anxiety and sleep problems. For Beverly, it was debilitating back pain, recurrent shingles and depression.

She said she learned to shut off her emotions to stay safe. If she cried or showed fear, her husband would become enraged, she said. A person living in constant fear is more likely to be controlled by it, and subsequently their abusive partner. It can include psychological, verbal abuse and stalking, and aims to isolate the victim.

Firearms can play a big role in helping an abuser to maintain control over his partner. For Beverly, the mere presence of the gun created feelings of helplessness, she said. She said she feared her husband would try and kill her the moment she left. It took months to create a plan with her mother in which she believed she could leave safely, without being shot or worse. Beverly had good reason to be afraid. Most victims who are killed by intimate partners are murdered while attempting to leave, Sorenson said.

Her findings illustrate just how powerful firearms are in trapping women in abusive relationships.

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Women are far less likely to fight back when a gun is present, she said, and are more likely to do what the abuser says to stay safe. Domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a gun, according to one study. And they frequently are. E very 16 hours, a woman in the U. But in practice, many states lack enforcement mechanisms to separate abusers from the guns they already a own. She said she is still terrified of him and what could happen if he gets out on parole. Send an email or follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the HuffPost Must Reads newsletter.

The day I put a gun to my head

Click here to sign up! Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Alan Majchrowicz via Getty Images A gun doesn't need to be fired to play a leading role in an abusive relationship. Related stories:. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus. Melissa Jeltsen.

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