While the women’s rights movement has improved the standard of living and quality of life for women in America, violence against women is still common. Murder-suicides make frequent appearances in the news, as do cases of women and their family members killed after fleeing a violent partner.
NPR cites a CDC study that estimates that 55% of women who are killed are murdered by current or past intimate partners. Black women and Native American women are especially likely to be killed, whether by partners or someone else.
Between 2003 and 2014, the murder rate for Black women was 4.4 per 100,000 women. For Native American women, it was 4.3 per 100,000 women. Hispanic women had a rate of 1.8 and non-Hispanic Whites had a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 women. Asian and Pacific Islanders had the lowest rate at 1.2 per 100,000 women.
When it came specifically to partner violence, Hispanic women faced the highest risk. In fact, 61% of murdered Hispanic women die at the hands of their former or current partners. While racial figures do help to pinpoint what communities need greater support, the overall figures show that this is not a racial problem. It is a public health issue with the potential to affect all women, regardless of their educational background, career success, income status or ethnicity.
The CDC makes several proposals to tackle intimate partner violence before it starts:
- Use community programs to disrupt developmental pathways that tend to lead to IPV later in life.
- Engage influential peers and focus on men and boys as the best allies for preventing IPV.
- Provide better economic and social support for families.
- Teach healthy relationship skills that focus on safety.
- Create protective environments in public spaces.
- Create support programs and facilities to shelter victims.
Even with these in place, otherwise peaceful partners may snap unexpectedly. This happens to not just men, but also women.