Sunday, August 14, 2005

some (rare) good news

Finally, some good news on the subject of violence against women!

Looks like feminists' constant "bitching" about the fact that we women get beat up way too often really has made a difference.
At least, it has in Britain.

Women are less likely [10% less likely, in fact] to fall victim to murder today than 20 years ago because they are more willing to walk out of violent relationships....
[Danny Dorling, the author of the report and a human geography prof at Sheffield University, states that]“People have both became aware of how dangerous domestic violence is and how fruitless it is to stay in a violent relationship. In addition, women have become economically better off and so, in increasing numbers, they can afford to walk out.”

But (I'm hoping this isn't typical Brit fashion) the news article ends with the uplifting statistic that "the average Briton [regardless of gender] is 176 times more likely to be murdered than to win the lottery with a single ticket." Lovely.

Now I know that the US's murder rates are significantly higher than pretty much any other country anywhere, so I'm sure that our raw numbers are higher than the Brits', but I wondered how much different American statistics regarding the murder rate of women are.

So, I did some googling.

According to COSSA report entitled "Controlling Violence in America," it's not really as cut-and-dry as simple statistics would imply. While the intimate partner homicide rate had declined 39 percent between 1976 and 1998, during which tons of resources became available to victims of domestic violence (overwhelmingly women), more women were killed by their partners in 1996 than in 1976. This may or may not just be because there are more people in the country in '96 as opposed to 20 years earlier.
And then there's the race/class discrepancies.
With respect to AFDC [Aid to Families with Dependent Children], Dugan noted that in areas with higher AFDC benefits fewer black unmarried males, white unmarried males, and black unmarried females were killed. There was no association, she said, between AFDC benefits and unmarried white females. Legal advocacy services, she said, had differing impacts for white and black women. For instance, white married women experienced a decreased homicide rate as legal advocacy services were strengthened, while rates of intimate partner homicide for black women were unaffected by the strength of these services.

So, while we've "come a long way, baby," we've still got a long, long road ahead of us.

All this, and there's grumbling and bitching about passing VAWA.

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