Study Says Ohio Women are Disproportionately Murdered By Men They Know

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EDIT: The previous headline to this article stated 95 percent of women murdered in Ohio are killed by men that they know. This can be misleading as the study says the statistic refers to “95 percent of all women in single victim/single offender incidents, in which the relationship between both parties can be established, are murdered by men they know.” The headline has been update to reflect this change.

A study released yesterday by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit educational group that promotes gun control, confirms women in the Great Lakes states are more likely to be murdered by a man they know, and most commonly with a gun.

Nationwide statistics show that 1.2 women are killed by men for every 100,000 women. Of the six Great Lakes states, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin have a homicide rate among women murdered by men that exceeds that national average. The homicide rate among females murdered by males in Ohio was 1.3 per 100,000 in 2016.

"The study shows that when women in the Great Lakes states are murdered it is most often by a man they know armed with a gun, and that all too often that man is an intimate partner," said VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand in a statement.

Out of the 77 women homicide victims in 2016, 50 were white and 27 were black. For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 60 percent of the victims (41 out of 68) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 51 percent (21 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 9 women killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 3 women killed by a blunt object, and 10 women killed by bodily force.

What is perhaps most concerning is that when investigating homicides where the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 95 percent (69 out of 73) of women were murdered by someone they knew. Only one victim was killed by a stranger.

Of the victims who knew their murderer, 57 percent (39 victims) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the offenders. For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 83 percent (49 out of 59) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 63 percent (31 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

Among the intimates who were murdered, 74 percent (29 victims) were killed with guns; 45 percent of these (13 victims) were shot and killed with handguns.

The data presented in the annual "When Men Murder Women" report coincides with the passage and implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is 24 years old this year and expires on Sept. 30, 2018 if Congress does not act to renew it.

Democrats have already been pushing for a long-term expansion of VAWA.

"The study highlights the importance of renewing the Violence Against Women Act, which would expand resources devoted to keeping guns out of the hands of abusers," Rand said.

The VPC doesn't just want to renew the VAWA, but they also urge state legislators to adopt laws that enhance enforcement and remove guns from abusers. The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place, and that women living with a gun in the home were nearly three times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun in the home.

“Across the nation, state gun violence prevention organizations are working to protect women from firearms death and injury stemming from domestic violence," said Nick Wilson in a statement, national director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, a national gun control advocacy group. 

The VAWA has provided more than $4 billion in grants to local governments to combat violence against women and support survivors since 1994. Domestic violence related murders dropped to an all time low by 24 percent in 2014, but the rate has increased in each of the last two years, with 2016’s rate up 11 percent since 2014.

Data for 2017 and 2018 have not yet been revealed, but patterns indicate that the numbers have only increased.

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