Michigan women are more likely to be murdered by men they know, study finds

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click to enlarge Cass High School students participate in the national #MarchForOurLives school walkout to protest against gun violence. - Miriam Marini
Miriam Marini
Cass High School students participate in the national #MarchForOurLives school walkout to protest against gun violence.

Women in the Great Lakes states are more likely to be murdered by a man they know, and most commonly with a gun, according to a study released today by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit educational group that promotes gun control.

Nationally, 1.2 women are killed by men for every 100,000 women. Of the six Great Lakes states, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin had a homicide rate among women murdered by men that exceeded that national average.

Based off the FBI's unpublished data from 2016, the most recently available, the report says Michigan has the 26th highest homicide rate for women murdered by men, with 1.25 of every 100,000. In 2016, 63 Michigan women were murdered by men; of them, 46 were white, the study says, and 64 percent were killed with a gun. In the Great Lakes States, 95 percent or more of the victims knew their killers.

"The study shows that when women in the Great Lakes states are murdered it is most often by a man they know armed with a gun, and that all too often that man is an intimate partner," said VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand in a statement.

VPC released the study in confluence with their efforts to fight the scheduled expiration of the federal Violence Against Women Act in little over a week. The VAWA was first enacted in 1994 and has been reauthorized three times in 2000, 2005 and 2013 with bipartisan support.

The law was the first piece of federal legislation to address domestic violence as a serious crime and set federal guidelines for responding to crimes of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. With the law set to expire on Sept. 30, a short-term extension has already been passed, but Democrats are pushing for an expansion of the program and long-term plan.

"The study highlights the importance of renewing the Violence Against Women Act, which would expand resources devoted to keeping guns out of the hands of abusers," Rand said.

The VPC doesn't just want to renew the VAWA, but they also urge state legislators to adopt laws that enhance enforcement and remove guns from abusers.

“Across the nation, state gun violence prevention organizations are working to protect women from firearms death and injury stemming from domestic violence," said Nick Wilson, national director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, a national gun control advocacy group.

"While progress is being made, much remains to be accomplished at the state and federal levels to safeguard women from lethal domestic violence. Renewing the Violence Against Women Act is essential to these efforts,” he added.

Since 1994, the VAWA has provided more than $4 billion in grants to local governments to combat violence against women and support survivors. 

Will Feuer is a Metro Times fall editorial intern.

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