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When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 1999 Homicide Data

Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim/Single Offender Incidents

Section Two: Black Women

The disproportionate burden of fatal and nonfatal violence borne by black women has almost always been overshadowed by the toll violence has taken on black men. In 1999, black women were murdered at a rate more than three times higher than white women (3.18 per 100,000 versus 0.96 per 100,000).

Age of Black Female Homicide Victims

In single female victim/single male offender homicides reported for 1999, 10 percent of the black victims were less than 18 years old (57 victims) and five percent were 65 years of age or older (28 victims). The average age of black female homicide victims was 34 years old.

Victim to Offender Relationship

Compared to a man, a black woman is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger. More than 14 times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (492 victims) than were killed by male strangers (36 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 1999. Of black victims who knew their offenders, 53 percent (263 out of 492) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.

Ninety-five percent (549 out of 575) of the homicides of black women where the race of the male offender was known were intra-racial.

Black Female Homicide Victims and Weapons

As with female homicide victims in general, firearms�especially handguns�were the most common weapons used by males to murder black females in 1999. In the 547 homicides for which the murder weapon could be identified, 55 percent of black female victims (300 victims) were shot and killed with guns. And when these women were killed with a gun, it was almost always a handgun (235 victims or 78 percent). The number of black females shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance (159 victims) was more than four times higher than the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined (36 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 1999.

Black Female Homicide Victims and Circumstance

The overwhelming majority of homicides among black females by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents in 1999 were not related to any other felony crime. Most often, black females were killed by males in the course of an argument�usually with a firearm. In 1999, for the 473 homicides in which the circumstance between the black female victim and male offender could be identified, 86 percent (409 out of 473) were not related to the commission of any other felony.

Nearly 70 percent of non-felony homicides (283 out of 409) involved arguments between the black female victim and male offender. Fifty-three percent (149 victims) were shot and killed with guns during those arguments.

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  All contents � 2001 Violence Policy Center


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.