South Carolina ranked worst in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men in 2013, the most recent year available for the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) study “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data.”
The VPC report said it has now been 18 consecutive years that South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 states for the rate of women murdered by men. South Carolina’s rate climbed to 2.39 murders per 100,000 women in 2013. That was up from 2.09 in 2012, when South Carolina ranked second behind Alaska. 57 total cases occurred in the state that year, according to the FBI. South Carolina’s rate is more than double the national average of 1.09 murders per 100,000 women.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand told South Carolina Radio Network that you have to keep in mind that the data is from 2013, before the state enacted legislation to help deal with the problem. “An important point about the study this data is from 2013. There is always a lag on getting this type of data. And that is before the South Carolina legislature took important steps to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers,” Rand said.
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 96 percent of women killed by men in South Carolina were murdered by someone they knew, and a gun was used in 60 percent of cases. 34 victims were white and 21 were black.
Alaska dropped to second in 2013 with a rate of 2.29, while New Mexico, Louisiana, and Nevada round out the five highest rates.
The data comes from two years ago, before the legislature tried to revamp the state’s laws this spring. A law signed by the governor in June changes how suspected batterers are charged and bases the charge on the severity of the abuse, rather than the number of times it has occurred in the past. Lawmakers also toughened the sentences required for a conviction and creates a lifetime gun ban for the worst-level abusers.