A new report ranks South Carolina as having the second-worst rate in the country for women murdered by men.
The annual report released Monday by the Violence Policy Center shows South Carolina did drop from worst in the nation a year ago, but still had 2.06 murders per every 100,000 women in 2012. That was nearly double the national average of 1.16. The VPC report analyzed FBI crime data from 2012, the most recent data year available, and only counted cases where one woman was killed by a single man.
Alaska was the only state with a higher rate than South Carolina, with 2.57 deaths per 100,000 women. Oklahoma (2.03) was the only other state with a rate higher than 2. New Hampshire had the lowest rate with 0.30 murders per 100,000 women (Florida, Alabama, and Illinois were not counted due to incomplete data).
The report noted that, among those cases where the attacker and victim’s relationship could be determined, 93 percent of female victims nationwide were murdered by a male they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62 percent were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.
VPC legislative director Kristen Rand says the group’s research also found that 71 percent of women nationwide were killed by a gun, but that rate increased to 77 percent among women who had been in an “intimate relationship” with their killer as either a wife, common-law, ex-wife, or girlfriend (the FBI data does not track ex-girlfriends).
Reed said South Carolina does not have a state law that bans those who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or have a restraining order against them from owning a gun. Federal law does, but states differ in what they consider “misdemeanors,” she said.
“There’s a lot that can be done simply by enforcing existing federal law through new state legislation… to ensure that, whenever there’s a history of domestic violence with a conviction or restraining order, guns are removed from those households,” she said. Among the states with the 10 highest rates of men killing women, seven do not have state statutes that correspond the federal law, she said.
South Carolina’s rate did drop half a point from 2011, when it was highest in the nation at 2.51 per 100,000 women. But Rand doubts that’s a sign of a long-term trend. “I think that’s unfortunately just a fluctuation,” she said.” I think what really proves that is South Carolina’s rate was lower in 2008, 2009, and 2010.”
South Carolina has ranked in the report’s top 10 annually for the last 17 years. Nationally, the rate has dropped from 1.57 in 1996 to 1.16 in 2012.