Despite FBI statistics on nationwide homicides revealing that every year a vast proportion of women killed in the US are killed by current or former intimate partners, these crimes receive little domestic attention, reports The Guardian.
The Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that homicide is the fourth leading cause of death for girls and women one to 19 years old, and the fifth leading cause of death for women 20 to 44.
While in France, the word femicide, or féminicide, is now used as a way of describing the epidemic of women killed by men in intimate settings, the term is barely understood outside of niche circles in the US, despite the fact that the crime occurs ten times more here than in France.
According to analysis of FBI data, of all female homicides accounted for in 2018 where the relationship between perpetrator and victim could be identified, 92 percent of cases involved women or girls killed by a man they knew, 63 percent of whom were killed by current husbands, ex-husbands or current boyfriends.
Confirmed American female intimate gendered killings occur at a rate of almost three women every day. According to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the homicide rate for Indigenous women and girls in the US is six times higher than it is for white women and girls, and 94 percent of cases are attributable to former or current partners.
Half of Indigenous homicide reports are missing from FBI data. Numbers suggest that less effort is put into finding indigenous women across the board: white people are found in 81 percent of cases after a week of being declared missing, compared to only 61 percent of Indigenous people in the same timeframe Laws protecting Indigenous rights in the US, which gives power to tribal courts and federal courts, but not state courts, can complicate matters.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the problem got worse during the lockdowns associated with the Covid-19 epidemic. Black women and girls are being murdered by male offenders at a rate of almost three times more than white women.
Part of the problem is how the system addresses daily occurrences of domestic violence incidents before they turn lethal, focusing on arrests, charges and convictions while ignoring the victim’s needs and wishes.
When Men Murder Women, The Crime Report, Oct 3, 2017
The Rise of Femicide and Women in Drug Trafficking, The Crime Report, October, 2011.