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When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 1998 Homicide Data

Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim/Single Offender Incidents

United States

1,932 females were murdered by males in the United States in 1998

The homicide rate among females murdered by males in the United States was 1.40 per 100,000 in 1998


There were 184 female homicide victims (10 percent) who were less than 18 years old, and 161 victims (8 percent) was 65 years of age or older. The average age was 36 years old.


Out of 1,932 female murder victims, 21 were American Indian, 30 were Asian, 659 were black, 1,204 were white, and 18 victims' race were unknown.

Most Common Weapons

For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 54 percent of female homicide victims (978 out of 1,825) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 77 percent (751 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 332 females killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 145 females killed by a blunt object, and 259 females killed by bodily force.

Victim/Offender Relationship

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 92 percent of female victims (1,699 out of 1,837) were murdered by someone they knew. There were 138 female victims killed by strangers. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 60 percent (1,016 victims) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Among the 1,016 female intimates murdered, 60 percent (611 victims) were killed with guns; 76 percent of these (463 victims) were shot and killed with handguns.


For homicides in which the circumstance could be identified, 87 percent (1,429 out of 1,645) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 69 percent (987 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and offender.


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The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.



All contents � 2000 Violence Policy Center