Women too often are victimized

Women too often are victimized

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For a society that professes to celebrate women, disturbing realities remain.

A new national survey concluded that one in 16 U.S. women say their first sexual experience was forced or coerced intercourse in their early teens.

The experiences of 3.3 million women between ages 18 and 44 amount to rape, according to the authors of the study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

And too often, violence against women goes beyond rape — resulting in death. South Carolina continues to have a real problem with men killing women.

The state ranked fifth in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, with a rate of 2.01 per 100,000, according to the new Violence Policy Center study titled “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2017 Homicide Data.”

South Carolina tied for fifth with Tennessee, and has ranked in the top 10 states for the rate of women murdered by men every year since the VPC began tracking this issue in 1998.

Disturbingly, the problem has grown worse.

From 1996 to 2017, the rate of women murdered by men in single-victim/single-offender incidents dropped from 1.57 per 100,000 women in 1996 to 1.29 per 100,000 women in 2017, a decrease of 18%. Since reaching its low of 1.08 in 2014, the rate has increased in each of the last three years, with 2017’s rate of 1.29 up 19% since 2014.

The new study uses 2017 data, the most recent year for which information is available. It covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

And as with rape, too often a woman is victimized by a man who professes to be closest to her.

The study found that nationwide, 92% of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew and that the most common weapon used was a gun.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Women are most likely to be murdered with a gun wielded not by a stranger but by someone they know. In many instances the murderer is an intimate partner of the victim. It is important to know these facts in order to identify effective strategies to prevent homicides against women."

Each year the VPC releases the report in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. This year, its release comes following the February 2019 expiration of the federal Violence Against Women Act.

A bill to reauthorize VAWA, which provides vital resources to combat violence and assistance to victims, has passed the U.S. House and is awaiting action in the Senate — which should move expeditiously to reauthorize it.

As Rand states: "One critical step is for the U.S. Senate to follow the lead of the House of Representatives and pass legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.”


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