Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.40.08 AMDomestic violence is, unfortunately, nothing new and as of late we’ve seen stories of Black women abused at the hands of their famous mates make major headlines far too often. According to a study by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) which will be released in October 2015 as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the trend in the news cycle mimics that of reality.

Citing statistics from When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data, the most recent year for which data is available, VPC notes:

Nationwide, 1,615 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2013, at a rate of 1.09 per 100,000. The study found that nationwide, 94 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62 percent were wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers.

The study also found that black women are disproportionately impacted by fatal domestic violence. In 2013, black females were murdered by men at a rate of 2.36 per 100,000, two and a half times higher than the rate of 0.95 per 100,000 for white women murdered by men.

Nationwide in 2013, out of the 1,615 female homicide victims, 1,086 were white, 453 were black, 36 were Asian or Pacific Islander, 21 were American Indian or Alaskan Native, and in 19 cases the race of the victim was not identified.

The study also compiled a list of the top 10 states with the highest rates of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2013. The figures are as follows:

  1. South Carolina            2.32 per 100,000
  2. Alaska                         2.29 per 100,000
  3. New Mexico                 2.00 per 100,000
  4. Louisiana                   1.99 per 100,000
  5. Nevada                      1.95 per 100,000
  6. (tie)   Tennessee       1.65 per 100,000
  7. (tie)   Oklahoma         1.65 per 100,000
  8. Vermont                    1.58 per 100,000
  9. Maine                         1.47 per 100,000
  10. Michigan                  1.45 per 100,000

It’s noted that for homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 94 percent of female victims nationwide were murdered by a male they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62 percent were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.

Firearms — especially handguns — were the weapons most commonly used by males to murder females in 2013. Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 53 percent of female victims were shot and killed with a gun. Of the homicides committed with guns, 69 percent were killed with handguns.

The overwhelming majority of these homicides were not related to any other felony crime, such as rape or robbery. Nationwide, for homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 85 percent of the homicides were not related to the commission of another felony. Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument between the victim and the offender, a press release on the study notes.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand spoke on the findings saying it’s time for the actions of our legal system to match these startling figures, and a good place to start is gun control.

“Women are dying every day as a result of domestic violence, and our state and federal laws are insufficient in the face of this crisis. State and federal policymakers should take immediate action to help protect women from abusers and prevent future tragedies. This should include ensuring that men with a history of domestic abuse do not have access to guns.”

Check out the full report here.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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  • Me

    I feel like these kinds of reports that only study one gender are incomplete. It would’ve been interesting for them to also identify the race of the murderer & the stats of DV from the perspective of who’s doing the killing. When you’re studying human relationships, you can never tell the whole story by only looking at what’s happening on one side of the equation. And you definitely can’t solve anything by only focusing on one side of the situation. That’s how we end up with victim-blaming strategies (everything from what to wear to how to enjoy a night out is directed at potential victims, but no strategies are given to potential assailants). We only know who’s getting hurt, but we know nothing about who’s doing the hurting or why, and they’re the biggest piece of the puzzle.

    • RaiseTheBar

      I Agree.

      The title alone is Polarizing.

      If I was an INDIVIDUAL of a mindset to have access to firearms, I could very easily have been part of a number of articles/statistics of Black Women / Women who Shoot to KILL for some minor infraction like I don’t Like the Tone of Your Voice.

      Victim = Disempowering

      VIctress = Best LIFE Coping SKILLS!!!

    • _a_

      I’m thinking its by black men since most crime is intraracial. Also, for most black women their, “domestic partners”, are black men.

    • Me

      I’m sure most of it is probably by black men, but I think it would help to see the break out by numbers. Part of me is nervous even asking the question because the numbers **might** prove that black men have a higher likelihood of committing DV than others, but part of me wants to know if the trend is that men in generally are killing women more, if some men are becoming more violent compared to other men, etc. One thing I wonder about is how this plays out in IR couples since it’s becoming so much more prevalent. Are black women seeing an increase in murders from their non-black SO’s too, or not?

    • _a_

      You’re right. I think its necessary to have people in place who can interpret these stats without bias, because anybody can take this and twist to suit their agenda.
      SN: I’m sure if the DV rate in a majority black (industrialized) country is neck and neck with the DV rate in a majority white/other (industrialized) country. People are going to have a hard time proving that this is some sort of pathology within black people.

    • Objection

      I agree with this 100%. Its very important we learn why men become murderers. What makes a man murder the woman he should love and protect? Your wife or girlfriend is the last person you should want to hurt. I also would like to know how many of these men commit suicide after murdering the wife or girlfriend? How many of these men suffer from mental illness?

      I’m not an expert by any means. However, I spent some time at the District Attorneys office. While at the D.A. office, I noticed the men become very violent when the woman tries to leave the relationship. The wife or girlfriend becomes the man’s “everything.” Its like the man feels he can’t live without her. There is something emotionally and mentally wrong with these men.

      I know from experience that the majority of black women are being killed by black men. Its not something I’m proud to say, but its the truth. We need to focus more on why men become murderers.

      P.S. I did my first internship at the Public Defender’s Office in South Carolina. I’m not surprise SC is at the top of the list.

    • tigerthelion

      You’d be right to ask for more info, @Me: From the study:

      “This is the 18th edition of When Men Murder Women. From 1996 to 2013, the rate of women murdered by men
      in single victim/single offender incidents dropped from 1.57 per 100,000 women in 1996 to 1.09 per 100,000
      women in 2013, a decrease of 31 percent”.
      This is a decrease, not an increase as this article states.

    • Me

      Good point. They even have a chart that shows how dramatic the decrease is. The only thing is I don’t see if they say if the decrease is across the board or some races are decreasing vs others are icreasing.

  • [email protected]

    There should be analysis of statistics and other forms of research (like the race of the murderer, and recommendations to fight back against DV). There are complexities when evaluating the issue of human interactions. Yet, one thing is certainly clear. We have an epidemic of black women and women in general being murdered by evil people. No one, who has a known history of domestic violence, should ever get a gun period. I think that this is a very important story to show. Far too often, society wants to minimize the damage that domestic violence has done against women. We have a crisis. I don’t believe in banning innocent people from owning a firearm, but something has to be done.

    We have to establish a gun safety culture in our land. That means that programs of gun training including gun safety must exist in a higher level in America. There must be the investments in mental health treatment. Cities must receive investments in violence prevention programs that deals with intervention, education, enforcement, and other resources to help women who suffer domestic violence. The NIH and the CDC should conduct extra research into the causes of gun violence. Also, we have to have vigilant and if we see the signs of domestic violence, then we should act. We should educate our communities, our religious bodies, and our political leaders in making sure that this issue is taken seriously (and things are taken. There should be individual and collective actions. The youth should be taught in an early age that DV has no place in any society). The community must be organized in order for us to defeat domestic violence.