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South Carolina Ranks #1 in Rate of Women Murdered by Men
9/15/2015 3:18:32 PM

South Carolina ranked first in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, with a rate of 2.32 per 100,000, according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) study When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data.

This is the 18th year in a row that South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 states for the rate of women murdered by men.

This annual report is being released in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. This year’s study applies to 2013, the most recent year for which data 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, 94 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew, and the most common weapon used was a gun.

“Several states including South Carolina have recently taken important steps to keep guns out of the hands of abusers,” says VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “Yet in the face of these alarming statistics, more needs to be done at the federal and state levels to protect women from abuse and prevent future tragedies.”

“When men murder women, the most common weapon used is a gun,” says Julia Wyman, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. “Closing gaps in state and federal gun laws will save women’s lives.”

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 2013:

Rank   State                           Homicide Rate, Females Murdered by Males

1          South Carolina            2.32 per 100,000

2          Alaska                         2.29 per 100,000

3          New Mexico                2.00 per 100,000

4          Louisiana                    1.99 per 100,000

5          Nevada                       1.95 per 100,000

6 (tie)   Tennessee                 1.65 per 100,000

6 (tie)   Oklahoma                   1.65 per 100,000

8          Vermont                      1.58 per 100,000

9          Maine                          1.47 per 100,000

10        Michigan                     1.45 per 100,000

Nationwide, 1,615 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2013, at a rate of 1.09 per 100,000.

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 94 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.

Firearms — especially handguns — were the weapons most commonly used by males to murder females in 2013. Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 53 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, 85 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. In addition, the study urges the U.S. Congress to adopt stronger legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, such as: the “Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2015” introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); the “Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act” introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); and, the “Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act” introduced by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Robert Dold (R-IL).

To view the full report, please visit


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