In November 2017, SEESAC conducted an online survey with 53,936 people in South East Europe to gather information regarding the sentiment around gun use and possession. The survey provided insights on how men and women of different ages in the region perceive guns: including why they would own a gun, how they have experienced guns in their lifetime, and their understanding of the legal framework around gun ownership.
Based on the key findings of this survey, SEESAC launched “Arm Yourself With” – an online campaign featuring an interactive platform –combined with concrete gun-related cases provided by the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform and facts from the Gender and SALW Study.
Bojana Balon, SEESAC Coordinator, on choosing a digital platform to raise awareness: “One of the most interesting insights from the perceptions survey for us was to see that people perceive social media and other online platforms as the main promoters of gun violence. From alternative sources of data that SEESAC developed, we understood that it is young people who are mostly affected by gun violence and who commit most of these incidents. Therefore, we built “Arm Yourself With” on a digital platform, so that especially young people can challenge their views by engaging with facts and data on what armed violence looks like and whom does it affect most.”
“Arm Yourself With” uses data, facts and user-engaging features to challenge views on gun violence and to inform citizens across the region about the dangers they expose themselves and their loved ones to by misusing or illegally possessing guns. The digital platform on which the campaign is built is designed to enable the user to engage with the content, which is divided into four sections: Love, Knowledge, Facts and Action. The platform provides information ranging from general statistics about gun ownership to facts about the gendered natured of gun violence, including in-depth analysis of domestic violence, suicides and other misuse of firearms.
“Arm Yourself With” was created and is maintained with the financial support of the European Union through its Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 and the Government of Germany.