South Carolina Tops Nation For Deadly Violence Against Women 


According to an annual report released by the Violence Policy Center, South Carolina has ranked the worst for deadly violence against women. The report found that had a rate of 2.32 women killed per 100,000 people in 2013. That’s more than twice the national average. Alaska, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Nevada rounded out the top five.

VPC’s report, titled “When Men Murder Women,” analyzed available data on incidents involving the murder of one woman by one man which, they note, is often an indicator of domestic violence. The report estimates that more than 1,600 women were murdered under these circumstances in 2013.

The center’s findings are unsurprising, yet still disturbing: Black women were two and half times more likely to be victims than their white counterparts, 94% of women were murdered by someone they knew, and handguns were the most commonly used weapon.

South Carolina has been ranked as one of the worst states for deadly violence for the past 18 years. The Associated Press notes that the state “ranked second last year and has been in the report’s top 10 annually for the last 18 years. This is the fourth time that the state ranked worst in the nation.” Domestic violence is such a persistent problem in South Carolina that earlier this year Governor Nikki Haley formed a task force to address the issue.

The AP reports:

“Haley’s task force, which has been meeting all year on domestic violence, issued dozens of recommendations last month, including training more 911 operators, improving documentation of the crime scene and increasing the number of shelters statewide.
Other recommendations include making paperwork for victims easier to fill out and more uniform and increasing the availability of emergency shelters.”

In June, Haley also signed into law legislation that increased penalties for domestic violence and banned gun ownership for some of the worst offenders.

But VPC would like to see even more legislative action. “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,” VPC legislative director Kristen Rand said in a statement. “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.”

VPC’s report comes in advance of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. They hope the report will urge lawmakers to adopt policies better aimed at protecting domestic abuse victims.

Chart via the Violence Policy Center.

Image of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signing the state’s new domestic violence bill into law via AP

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