Louisiana, with a rate of 2.53 per 100,000, ranks first in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men according to a new report issued today by my organization, the Violence Policy Center (VPC). "When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2007 Homicide Data" details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender and uses the most recent data available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report. The report is released each year to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
Ranked behind Louisiana were: Alaska at number, two with a rate of 2.44 per 100,000; Wyoming at number three, with a rate of 2.33 per 100,000; Arkansas at number four with a rate of 2.29 per 100,000; Nevada at number five, with a rate of 2.23 per 100,000; Alabama at number six with a rate of 2.22 per 100,000; New Mexico at number seven with a rate of 2.21 per 100,000; South Carolina at number eight with a rate of 2.04 per 100,000; Oklahoma at number nine with a rate of 2.03 per 100,000; and, Arizona at number 10 with a rate of 1.92 per 100,000. Nationally, the rate of women killed by men in single victim/single offender instances was 1.30 per 100,000.
Nationwide, 1,865 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2007. Where weapon use could be determined, firearms were the most common weapon used by males to murder females (847 of 1,657 homicides or 51 percent). Of these, 76 percent (640 of 847) were committed with handguns.
In cases where the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 91 percent of female victims (1,587 out of 1,743) were murdered by someone they knew. Of these, 62 percent (990 out of 1,587) were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers. More than 10 times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers. In 88 percent of all incidents where the circumstances could be determined, the homicides were not related to the commission of any other felony, such as rape or robbery.
As the study notes in its conclusion, "The picture that emerges from When Men Murder Women is that women face the greatest threat from someone they know, most often a spouse or intimate acquaintance, who is armed with a gun. For women in America, guns are not used to save lives, but to take them."