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Black Femicide in the United States: What We Know

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Black Women's March 2021

The term femicide has no standard definition in the United States. Intimate partner violence and domestic violence are both categorized as crimes against women. Physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression are some of the forms of abuse as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Though the World Health Organization notes that the killing of women has steadily increased in the U.S. since 2014, it is not acknowledged as a problem as it is in other countries. The penalties for sex crimes are not restricted by gender, but if the victim is under 18, the consequences are more severe. Domestic violence crimes carry enhanced penalties, but they are rarely used because it is almost impossible to prove the intention was based on gender in a court of law.

@BlackFemicideAmerica

@BlackfemicideAmerica is an Instagram account run by a woman known only to our publication as Rosa (oftentimes contributing more than a first name can result in gang stalking and murder due to the type of activism Rosa is involved with). This Instagram account promotes awareness of this as an issue on a grassroots level. A report by the Violence Policy Center shows that 1,948 women were killed by men in 2017. Additionally, CDC reports that Black women suffered the highest rate of homicide in the United States during the same year. For Black women, physical violence is a problem that affects 4 out of 10 of them in their lifetime.

Every 6 hours a Black Woman/Girl is Murdered in America

Twenty percent of Black women have been raped in their lifetimes, a higher percentage than other women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that African American women are more likely to be murdered by men. They are 2.5 times more likely than white women to be killed by men and boys. Black women who are murdered know their killers 9 out of 10 times. Having easy access to firearms, either legally or illegally, is the main risk factor.

From a cultural standpoint, Black women are expected to be strong and able to handle abuse due to the “strong Black women” stereotype. This causes people to believe less in their vulnerability or need for help. Masculinity is associated with black women more so than any other group of women including Tongan and Samoan women who are known for their physical strength. Such notions leave black women especially vulnerable to interpersonal assault.

Rosa of @BlackfemicideAmerica

Rosa of @BlackfemicideAmerica (also on Facebook)found that southern states have a higher rate of violence against Black women than the rest of the country. These numbers were found prior to the pandemic and have steadily risen since then. In addition, Rosa has determined that on average, three Black women or girls are murdered every day based on independent data collection.

 

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