A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that Black and indigenous women are murdered at a rate higher than that of any other race. The report by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention found that across 18 states Black women were murdered at drastically higher rates than women of other races.
According to the CDC study, which was conducted from 2003 to 2014, Black women are killed at a rate of 4.4 per 100,000 people and indigenous women at a rate of 4.3. Other races are killed at a rate of 1 or 2 per 100,000 people. A 2007 Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that Black women are four times more likely than White women to be killed as a result of domestic violence. Although Black women constitute only 13% of the U.S. population, they comprise half of the homicides against women in America.
Police findings from Dallas, Texas provide accurate micro-level representations of these findings. In August 2012, of the 12 incidents of domestic violence were reported in the city, half of the victims were Black women. More recently, in April, a domestic violence case involving a Black school teacher made national headlines when Karen Elaine Smith was fatally shot 10 times by her abusive husband while she was teaching a class. Smith had plans of divorcing him.
But these are just the reports that we know of. After video footage showed football player Ray Rice punch his then-fiancé Janay Rice and then drag her unconscious body to a hotel room the popular tweeter and activist Feminista Jones made a very pertinent point about domestic violence among black women.
“Black women tend to feel obligated to put racial issues ahead of sex-based issues,” Jones wrote in an essay for TIME. “For Black women, a strong sense of cultural affinity and loyalty to community and race renders many of us silent, so our stories often go untold. One of the biggest related impediments is our hesitation in trusting the police or the justice system.”
“As Black people, we don’t always feel comfortable surrendering ‘our own’ to the treatment of a racially biased police state and as women, we don’t always feel safe calling police officers who may harm us instead of helping us,” Jones continued.
In a statement obtained by NPR, Emily Petrosky, author of the CDC report, also pointed to the role racism plays in domestic violence among women of color.
“If we want to end domestic violence and domestic homicide we must also end unconscious institutional racism and other barriers that impact survivors,” Petrosky said.
“Our organization envisions a world where no one experiences domestic terrorism in the home, and that survivors know that reaching out for help will not activate a disparate response by the justice system due to the race or ethnicity of the abusive partner,” she continued.