The following is a guest blog originally published here by Jerin Arifa, with an acknowledgement to Patricia Reuss for staying on top of this issue and sending the report to us.
Jerin serves with me on the board of directors for the National Organization for Women (NOW) and chairs NOW’s Young Feminist Task Force.
Patricia is the “godmother” of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), having worked very closely with now Vice-President Joe Biden when he authored the original VAWA back in 1994. She describes herself as “a longtime women’s rights activist pretending to be retired and currently serving as a policy adviser to NOW and the National Task Force [to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women].”
Earlier this year, Pat wrote a guest blog for me on the Violence Against Women Act. It focused on a watered-down version of VAWA introduced by Republican legislators that fortunately failed and was replaced by a strong re-authorization bill signed into law by President Obama on Women’s Equality Day last March. Thank you Pat for all you do for women’s lives.
Here’s Jerin’s guest blog:
The Violence Policy Center has released their annual report, When Men Murder Women, in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The study reports the statistics for females murdered by males, and includes a list of the top ten states with the highest homicide rates.
Some key findings:
- For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 94 percent of female victims were murdered by someone they knew. Compared to a man, a woman is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger.
- For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 51 percent of female victims were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 73 percent were killed with handguns.
- The number of females shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance was more than five times higher than the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined in single victim/single offender incidents
- For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 87 percent were not related to the commission of any other felony, such as rape or robbery.
- Of these, 60 percent involved arguments between the victim and the offender.
- For homicides in which the age of the victim was reported, 8 percent were less than 18 years old and 10 percent were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 39 years old.
- Owning a gun doesn’t protect women. Females living with a gun in the home were nearly three times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun in the home.
- A gun in the home is a key factor in the escalation of nonfatal spousal abuse to homicide. In one study, firearm-associated family and intimate assaults were 12 times more likely to result in death than non-firearm associated assaults between family and intimates.
- Women who were murdered were more likely, not less likely, to have purchased a handgun in the three years prior to their deaths, again invalidating the idea that a handgun has a protective effect against homicide.
- While firearms are at times used by private citizens to kill criminals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the most common scenarios of lethal gun use in America in 2010, the most recent final data available, are suicide (19,392), homicide (11,078), or fatal unintentional injury (606).
- South Carolina was followed by Alaska and Oklahoma as the states with the highest homicide rates for women.