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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