This annual report is being released in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. The study uses 2014 data, the most recent year for which information is available. The study covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report.
The study found that nationwide, 93 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew and that the most common weapon used was a gun.
“Women are almost always killed by someone they know, and the majority are victims of domestic homicide. Local, state, and national policymakers must make preventing domestic violence a priority,” VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand said. “Guns in the hands of abusers can escalate domestic violence to homicide in the blink of an eye. Removing guns from a domestic violence situation is crucial.”
Julia Wyman, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, states, “The facts speak for themselves, the corporate gun lobby promotes firearms as a means to personal safety. The VPC research exposes the truth that guns in a domestic abuse household are the means of abuse, not safety.”
The Violence Policy Center has published When Men Murder Women annually for 19 years. During that period, nationwide the rate of women murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents has dropped 31 percent — from 1.57 per 100,000 in 1996 to 1.08 per 100,000 in 2014.
Below is the complete list of the 10 states with the highest rate of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2014:
Rank—State—Homicide Rate, Females Murdered by Males
1. Alaska — 3.15 per 100,000
2. Louisiana — 2.15 per 100,000
3. Nevada — 1.98 per 100,000
4. Oklahoma — 1.94 per 100,000
5. South Carolina — 1.73 per 100,000
6. New Mexico — 1.71 per 100,000
7. South Dakota — 1.65 per 100,000
8. Georgia — 1.62 per 100,000
9. Tennessee —1.58 per 100,000
10. Texas —1.44 per 100,000
For each of the top 10 states, the study offers a detailed summary including: the number of victims by age group and race; the most common weapons used; the victim to offender relationships; and the circumstances of the homicides.
Nationwide statistics from the study include the following:
Nationwide, 1,613 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2014, at a rate of 1.08 per 100,000. Out of the 1,613 female homicide victims, 1,116 were white, 424 were black, 44 were Asian or Pacific Islander, 14 were American Indian or Alaskan Native, and in 15 cases the race of the victim was not identified.
Nine out of 10 victims knew their offenders. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 63 percent were wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers. Thirteen times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers.
Black women are disproportionately impacted by fatal domestic violence. In 2014, black females were murdered by men at a rate of 2.19 per 100,000, more than twice the rate of 0.97 per 100,000 for white women murdered by men.
Firearms — especially handguns — were the weapons most commonly used by males to murder females in 2014. Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 54 percent of female victims were shot and killed with a gun. Of the homicides committed with guns, 69 percent were killed with handguns.
The overwhelming majority of these homicides were not related to any other felony crime, such as rape or robbery. Nationwide, for homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 83 percent of the homicides were not related to the commission of another felony. Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument between the victim and the offender.
The study calculates the rate of women murdered by men by dividing the total number of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents by the total female population and multiplying the result by 100,000. This is the standard and accepted method of comparing fatal levels of gun violence.
The study urges state legislators to adopt laws that enhance enforcement of federal legislation and ensure that guns are surrendered by or removed from the presence of abusers.